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—p. 1973 

From the 'painting by Vierge 






Copyright igio 
By p. F. Collier & Son 



IX the night of the 15th of January 1343, while 
the inhabitants of Naples lay wrapped in 
peaceful slumber, they were suddenly awakened by 
the bells of the three hundred churches that this 
thrice blessed capital contains. In the midst of 
the disturbance caused by so rude a call the first 
thought in the mind of all was that the town was 
on fire, or that the army of some enemy had 
mysteriously landed under cover of night and 
would put the citizens to the edge of the sword. 
But the doleful, intermittent sounds of all these 
bells, which disturbed the silence at regular and 
distant intervals, were an invitation to the faithful 
to pray for a passing soul, and it was soon evident 
that no disaster threatened the town, but that the 
king alone was in danger. 

Indeed, it had been plain for several days past 
that the greatest uneasiness prevailed in Castel 

1785 Dumas— Vul. U— A 



Niiovo; the officers of the crown were assembled 
regularly twice a day, and persons of importance, 
whose right it was to make their way into the 
king's apartments, came out evidently bowed down 
with grief. But although the king's death was 
regarded as a misfortune that nothing could avert, 
yet the whole town, on learning for certain of the 
approach of his last hour, was affected with a 
sincere grief, easily understood when one learns 
that the man about to die, after a reign of thirty- 
three years, eight months, and a few days, was 
Robert of Anjou, the most wise, just, and glorious 
king who had ever sat on the throne of Sicily. And 
so he carried with him to the tomb the eulogies 
and regrets of all his subjects. 

Soldiers would speak with enthusiasm of the long 
wars he had waged with Frederic and Peter of 
Aragon, against Henry vii and Louis of Bavaria, 
and felt their hearts beat high, remembering the 
glories of campaigns in Lombardy and Tuscany; 
priests would gratefully extol his constant defence 
of the papacy against Ghibelline attacks, and the 
founding of convents, hospitals, and churches 
throughout his kingdom; in the world of letters he 
was regarded as the most learned king in Christen- 
dom; Petrarch, indeed, would receive the poet's 
crown from no other hand, and had spent three 
consecutive days answering all the questions that 



Robert had deigned to ask him on every topic of 
human knowledge. The men of law, astonished 
by the wisdom of those laws which now enriched 
the Neapolitan code, had dubbed him the Solomon 
of their day; the nobles applauded him for pro- 
tecting their ancient privileges, and the people were 
eloquent of his clemency, piety, and mildness. In 
a word, priests and soldiers, philosophers and poets, 
nobles and peasants, trembled when they thought 
that the government was to fall into the hands of 
a foreigner and of a young girl, recalling those 
words of Robert, who, as he followed in the funeral 
train of Charles, his only son, turned as he reached 
the threshold of the church and sobbingly exclaimed 
to his barons about him, " This day the crown has 
fallen from my head : alas for me ! alas for you ! " 

Now that the bells were ringing for the dying 
moments of the good king, every mind was full of 
these prophetic words: women prayed fervently 
to God; men from all parts of the town bent their 
steps towards the royal palace to get the earliest 
and most authentic news, and after waiting some 
moments, passed in exchanging sad reflections, were 
obliged to return as they had come, since nothing 
that went on in the privacy of the family found its 
way outside: the castle was plunged in complete 
darkness, the drawbridge was raised as usual, and 
the guards were at their post. 



Yet if our readers care to be present at the death 
of the nephew of Saint Louis and the grandson of 
Charles of Anjou, we may conduct them into the 
chamber of the dying man. An alabaster lamp 
suspended from the ceiling serves to light the vast 
and sombre room, with walls draped in black 
velvet sewn with golden fleur-de-lys. Near the 
wall which faces the two entrance doors that at this 
moment are both shut close, there stands beneath a 
brocaded canopy an ebony bed, supported on four 
twisted columns carved with symbolic figures. The 
king, after a struggle with a violent paroxysm, 
has fallen swooning in the arms of his confessor 
and his doctor, who each hold one of his dying 
hands, feeling his pulse anxiously and exchanging 
looks of intelligence. At the foot of the bed stands 
a woman about fifty years of age, her hands clasped, 
her eyes raised to heaven, in an attitude of resigned 
grief: this woman is the queen. No tears dim her 
eyes : her sunken cheek has that waxen yellow tinge 
that one sees on the bodies of saints preserved by 
miracle. In her look is that mingling of calm and 
suffering that points to a soul at once tried by 
sorrow and imbued with religion. After the lapse 
of an hour, while no movement had disturbed the 
profound silence which reigned about the bed of 
death, the king trembled slightly, opened his eyes, 
and endeavoured feebly to raise his head. Then 



thanking the physician and priest with a smile, 
who had both hastened to arrange his pillows, he 
begged the queen to come near, and told her in a 
low voice that he would speak with her a moment 
alone. The doctor and confessor retired, deeply 
bowing, and the king followed them with his eyes 
up to the moment when one of the doors closed 
behind them. He passed his hand across his brow. 
as though seeking to collect his thoughts, and rally- 
ing all his forces for the supreme effort, pronounced 
these words : — 

" What I must say to you, Sancha, has no con- 
cern with those two good persons who were here a 
moment ago: their task is ended. One has done 
all for my body that human science could teach 
him, and all that has come of it is that my death 
is yet a little deferred ; the other has now absolved 
me of all my sins, and assured me of God's for- 
giveness, yet cannot keep from me those dread 
apparitions which in this terrible hour arise before 
me. Twice have you seen me battling with a 
superhuman horror. My brow has been bathed 
in sweat, my limbs rigid, my cries have been stifled 
by a hand of iron. Has God permitted the Evil 
Spirit to tempt me? Is this remorse in phantom 
shape? These two conflicts I have suffered have 
so subdued my strengtli that I can never endure a 
third. Listen then, my Sancha, for I have instruc- 



tions to give you on which perhaps the safety of 
my soul depends." 

" My lord and my master," said the queen in 
the most gentle accents of submission, " I am ready 
to listen to your orders ; and should it be that God, 
in the hidden designs of His providence, has willed 
to call you to His glory while we are plunged in 
grief, your last wishes shall be fulfilled here on 
earth most scrupulously and exactly. But," she 
added, with all the solicitude of a timid soul, " pray 
suffer me to sprinkle drops of holy water and 
banish the accursed one from this chamber, and 
let me offer up some part of that service of prayer 
that you composed in honour of your sainted 
brother to implore God's protection in this hour 
when we can ill afford to lose it." 

Then opening a richly bound book, she read with 
fervent devotion certain verses of the office that 
Robert had written in a very pure Latin for his 
brother Louis, Bishop of Toulouse, which was in 
use in the Church as late as the time of the Council 
of Trent. 

Soothed by the charm of the prayers he had him- 
self composed, the king was near forgetting the 
object of the interview he had so solemnly and 
eagerly demanded, and letting himself lapse into a 
state of vague melancholy, he murmured in a 
subdued voice, " Yes, yes, you are right ; pray for 



nie, for yon too are a saint, and I am bnt a poor sin- 
fnl man." 

" Say not so, my lord," interrupted Dofia Sancha; 
" you are the greatest, wisest, and most just king 
who has ever sat upon the throne of Naples." 

" But the throne is usurped," replied Robert in 
a voice of gloom ; " you know that the kingdom 
belonged to my elder brother, Charles Martel; and 
since Charles was on the throne of Hungary, which 
he inherited from his mother, the kingdom of 
Naples devolved by right upon his eldest son, Car- 
obert, and not on me, who am the third in rank of 
the family. And I have suffered myself to be 
crowned in my nephew's stead, though he was the 
only lawful king; I have put the younger branch in 
the place of the elder, and for thirty-three years I 
have stifled the reproaches of my conscience. True, 
I have won battles, made laws, founded churches; 
but a single word serves to give the lie to all the 
pompous titles showered upon me by the people's 
admiration, and this one word rings out clearer in 
my ears than all the flattery of courtiers, all the 
songs of poets, all the orations of the crowd : — I 
am an usurper ! " 

" Be not unjust towards yourself, my lord, and 
bear in mind that if you did not abdicate in favour 
of the rightful heir, it was because you wished to 
save the people from the worst misfortunes. More- 



over," continued the queen, with that air of pro- 
found conviction that an unanswerable argument 
inspires, " you have remained king by the consent 
and authority of our Holy Father the sovereign 
pontiff, who disposes of the throne as a fief belong- 
ing to the Church." 

" I have long quieted my scruples thus," replied 
the dying man, " and the pope's authority has kept 
me silent; but whatever security one may pretend 
to feel in one's lifetime, there yet comes a dreadful 
solemn hour when all illusions needs must vanish : 
this hour for me has come, and now I must appear 
before God, the one unfailing Judge." 

" If His justice cannot fail, is not His mercy 
infinite?" pursued the queen, with the glow of 
sacred inspiration. " Even if there were good rea- 
son for the fear that has shaken your soul, what 
fault could not. be effaced by a repentance so noble ? 
Have you not repaired the wrong you may have 
done your nephew Carobert, by bringing his 
younger son Andre to your kingdom and marrying 
him to Joan, your poor Charles's elder daughter? 
Will not they inherit your crown? " 

" Alas ! " cried Robert, with a deep sigh, " God is 
punishing me perhaps for thinking too late of this 
just reparation. O my good and noble Sancha, 
you touch a chord which vibrates sadly in my heart, 
and you anticipate the unhappy confidence I was 



about to make. I feel a gloomy presentiment — and 
in the hour of death presentiment is prophecy — that 
the two sons of my nephew, Louis, who has been 
King of Hungary since his father died, and Andre, 
whom I desired to make King of Naples, will prove 
the scourge of my family. Ever since Andre set 
foot in our castle, a strange fatality has pursued 
and overturned my projects. I had hoped that if 
Andre and Joan were brought up together a tender 
intimacy would arise between the two children, 
and that the beauty of our skies, our civilisation, 
and the attractions of our court would end by 
softening whatever rudeness there might be in the 
young Hungarian's character; but in spite of my 
efforts all has tended to cause coldness, and even 
aversion, between the bridal pair. Joan, scarcely 
fifteen, is far ahead of her age. Gifted with a 
brilliant and mobile mind, a noble and lofty charac- 
ter, a lively and glowing fancy, now free and frolic- 
some as a child, now grave and proud as a queen, 
trustful and simple as a young girl, passionate and 
sensitive as a woman, she presents the most striking 
contrast to Andre, who, after a stay of ten years 
at our court, is wilder, more gloomy, more intract- 
able than ever. His cold, regular features, impassive 
countenance, and indifference to every pleasure 
that his wife appears to love, all this has raised 
between him and Joan a barrier of indifference, 



even of antipathy. To the tenderest effusion his 
reply is no more than a scornful smile or a frown, 
and he never seems happier than when on a pretext 
of the chase he can escape from the court. These, 
then, are the two, man and wife, on whose heads 
my crown shall rest, who in a short space will find 
themselves exposed to every passion whose dull 
growl is now heard below a deceptive calm, but 
which only awaits the moment when I breathe my 
last, to burst forth upon them." 

" O my God, my God ! " the queen kept repeating 
in her grief : her arms fell by her side, like the arms 
of a statue weeping by a tomb. 

" Listen, Dona Sancha. I know that your heart 
has never clung to earthly vanities, and that you 
only wait till God has called me to Himself to with- 
draw to the convent of Santa Maria della Croce, 
founded by yourself in the hope that you might 
there end your days. Far be it from me to dissuade 
you from your sacred vocation, when I am myself 
descending into the tomb and am conscious of the 
nothingness of all human greatness. Only grant 
me one year of widowhood before you pass on to 
your bridal with the Lord, one year in which you 
will watch over Joan and her husband, to keep 
from them all the dangers that threaten. Already 
the woman who was the seneschal's wife and her 
son have too much influence over our grand- 



daughter; be specially careful, and amid the many 
interests, intrigues, and temptations that will sur- 
round the young queen, distrust particularly the 
affection of Bertrand d'Artois, the beauty of Louis 
of Tarentum, and the ambition of Charles of 

The king paused, exhausted by the effort of 
speaking; then turning on his wife a supplicating 
glance and extending his thin wasted hand, he 
added in a scarcely audible voice — 

" Once again I entreat you, leave not the court 
before a year has passed. Do you promise me? " 

" I promise, my lord." 

" And now," said Robert, whose face at these 
words took on a new animation, " call my confessor 
and the physician and summon the family, for the 
hour is at hand, and soon I shall not have the 
strength to speak my last words." 

A few moments later the priest and the doctor 
re-entered the room, their faces bathed in tears. 
The king thanked them warmly for their care of 
him in his last illness, and begged them help to 
dress him in the coarse garb of a Franciscan monk, 
that God, as he said, seeing him die in poverty, 
humility, and penitence, might the more easily grant 
him pardon. The confessor and doctor placed upon 
his naked feet the sandals worn by mendicant friars, 
robed him in a Franciscan frock, and tied the rope 



about his waist. Stretched thus upon his bed, his 
brow surmounted by his scant)' locks, with his long 
white beard, and his hands crossed upon his breast, 
the King of Naples looked like one of those aged 
anchorites who spend their lives in mortifying the 
flesh, and whose souls, absorbed in heavenly con- 
templation, glide insensibly from out their last 
ecstasy into eternal bliss. Some time he lay thus 
with closed eyes, putting up a silent prayer to God ; 
then he bade them light the spacious room as for a 
great solemnity, and gave a sign to the two persons 
who stood, one at the head, the other at the foot of 
the bed. The two folding doors opened, and the 
whole of the royal family, with the queen at their 
head and the chief barons following, took their 
places in silence around the dying king to hear his 
last wishes. 

His eyes turned toward Joan, who stood next 
him on his ris^ht hand, with an indescribable look 
of tenderness and grief. She was of a beauty so 
unusual and so marvellous, that her grandfather 
was fascinated by the dazzling sight, and mistook 
her. for an angel that God had sent to console him 
on his deathbed. The pure lines of her fine profile, 
her great black liquid eyes, her noble brow uncov- 
ered, her hair shining like the raven's wing, her 
delicate mouth, the whole effect of this beautiful 
face on the mind of those who beheld her was that 



of a deep melancholy and sweetness, impressing 
itself once and for ever. Tall and slender, but with- 
out the excessive thinness of some young girls, her 
movements had that careless supple grace that recall 
the waving of a flower stalk in the breeze. But in 
spite of all these smiling and innocent graces one 
could yet discern in Robert's heiress a will firm 
and resolute to brave every obstacle, and the dark 
rings that circled her fine eyes plainly showed that 
her heart was already agitated by passions beyond 
her years. 

Beside Joan stood her younger sister, Marie, who 
was twelve or thirteen years of age, the second 
daughter of Charles, Duke of Calabria, who had 
died before her birth, and whose mother, Marie of 
Valois, had unhappily been lost to her from her 
cradle. Exceedingly pretty and shy, she seemed 
distressed by such an assembly of great personages, 
and quietly drew near to the widow of the grand 
seneschal, Philippa, surnamed the Catanese, the 
princesses' governess, whom they honoured as a 
mother. Behind the princesses and beside this lady 
stood her son, Robert of Cabane, a handsome young 
man, proud and upright, who with his left hand 
played with his slight moustache while he secretly 
cast on Joan a glance of audacious boldness. The 
group was completed by Doha Cancha, the young 
chamber woman to the princesses, and by the Count 



of Terlizzi, who exchanged with her many a furtive 
look and many an open smile. The second group 
was composed of Andre, Joan's husband, and Friar 
Robert, tutor to the young prince, who had come 
with him from Budapesth, and never left him for 
a minute. Andre was at this time perhaps eighteen 
years old: at first sight one was struck by the ex- 
treme regularity of his features, his handsome, 
noble face, and abundant fair hair; but among all 
these Italian faces, with their vivid animation, his 
countenance lacked expression, his eyes seemed dull, 
and something hard and Icy in his looks revealed 
his wild character and foreign extraction. His 
tutor's portrait Petrarch has drawn for us : crimson 
face, hair and beard red, figure short and crooked; 
proud in poverty, rich and miserly; like a second 
Diogenes, with hideous and deformed limbs barely 
concealed beneath his friar's frock. 

In the third group stood the widow of Philip, 
Prince of Tarentum, the king's brother, honoured 
at the court of Naples with the title of Empress of. 
Constantinople, a style inherited by her as the 
granddaughter of Baldwin ii. Anyone accustomed 
to sound the depths of the human heart would at 
one glance have perceived that this woman under 
her ghastly pallor concealed an implacable hatred, 
a venomous jealousy, and an all-devouring ambi- 
tion. She had her three sons about her — Robert, 



Philip and Louis, the youngest. Had the king 
chosen out from among his nephews the hand- 
somest, bravest, and most generous, there can be 
no doubt that Louis of Tarentum would have 
obtained the crown. At the age of twenty-three he 
had already excelled the cavaliers of most renown 
in feats of arms; honest, loyal, and brave, he no 
sooner conceived a project than he promptly carried 
it out. His brow shone in that clear light which 
seems to serve as a halo of success to natures so 
privileged as his ; his fine eyes, of a soft and velvety 
black, subdued the hearts of men who could not 
resist their charm, and his caressing smile made 
conquest sweet. A child of destiny, he had but to 
use his will ; some power unknown, some beneficent 
fairy had watched over his birth, and undertaken to 
smooth away all obstacles, gratify all desires. 

Near to him, but in the fourth group, his cousin 
Charles of Duras stood and scowled. His mother, 
Agnes, the widow of the Duke of Durazzo and 
Albania, another of the king's brothers, looked upon 
him affrighted, clutching to her breast her two 
younger sons, Ludovico, Count of Gravina, and 
Robert, Prince of Morea. Charles, pale-faced, with 
short hair and thick beard, was glancing with suspi- 
cion first at his dying uncle and then at Joan and 
the little Marie, then again at his cousins, apparently 
so excited by tumultuous thoughts that he could not 



Stand still. His feverish uneasiness presented a 
marked contrast with the calm, dreamy face of 
Bertrand d'Artois, who, giving precedence to his 
father Charles, approached the queen at the foot of 
the bed, and so found himself face to face with 
Joan. The young man was so absorbed by the 
beauty of the princess that he seemed to see nothing 
else in the room. 

As soon as Joan and Andre, the Princes of 
Tarentum and Durazzo, the Counts of Artois, and 
Queen Sancha had taken their places round the bed 
of death, forming a semicircle, as we have just 
described, the vice-chancellor passed through the 
rows of barons, who according to their rank were 
following closely after the princes of the blood, 
and bowing low before the king, unfolded a parch- 
ment sealed with the royal seal, and read in a 
solemn voice, amid a profound silence : — ■ 

" Robert, by the grace of God King of Sicily and 
Jerusalem, Count of Provence, Forcalquier, and 
Piedmont, Vicar of the Holy Roman Church, here- 
by nominates and declares his sole heiress in the 
kingdom of Sicily on this side and the other side 
of the strait, as also in the counties of Provence, 
Forcalquier, and Piedmont, and in all his other 
territories, Joan, Duchess of Calabria, elder daugh- 
ter of the excellent lord Charles, Duke of Calabria, 
Df illustrious memory, 



" Moreover, he nominates and declares the hon- 
ourable lady Marie, younger daughter of the late 
Duke of Calabria, his heiress in the county of Alba 
and in the jurisdiction of the valley of Grati and 
the territory of Giordano, with all their castles and 
dependencies ; and orders that the lady thus named 
receive them in fief direct from the aforesaid 
duchess and her heirs; on this condition, however, 
that if the duchess give and grant to her illustrious 
sister or to her assigns the sum of 10,000 ounces of 
gold by way of compensation, the county and 
jurisdiction aforesaid shall remain in the possession 
of the duchess and her heirs. 

" Moreover, he wills and commands, for private 
and secret reasons, that the aforesaid lady Marie 
shall contract a marriage with the very illustrious 
prince, Louis, reigning King of Hungary. And in 
case any impediment should appear to this marriage 
by reason of the union said to be already arranged 
and signed between the King of Hungary and the 
King of Bohemia and his daughter, our lord the 
king commands that the illustrious lady Marie shall 
contract a marriage with the elder son of the mighty 
lord Don Juan, Duke of Normandy, himself the 
elder son of the reigning King of France." 

At this point Charles of Durazzo gave Marie a 
singularly meaning look, which escaped the notice 
of all present, their attention being absorbed by the 



reading- of Robert's will. The young girl herself, 
from the moment when she first heard her own 
name, had stood confused and thunderstruck, with 
scarlet cheeks, not daring to raise her eyes. 

The vice-chancellor continued : — 

" Moreover, he has willed and commanded that 
the counties of Forcalquier and Provence shall in 
all perpetuity be united to his kingdom, and shall 
form one sole and inseparable dominion, whether 
or not there be several sons or daughters or any 
other reason of any kind for its partition, seeing 
that this union is of the utmost importance for the 
security and common prosperity of the kingdom 
and counties aforesaid. 

" Moreover, he has decided and commanded that 
in case of the death of the Duchess Joan — which 
God avert! — without lawful issue of her body, the 
most illustrious lord Andre, Duke of Calabria, her 
husband, shall have the principality of Salerno, 
with the title fruits, revenues, and all the rights 
thereof, together with the revenue of 2000 ounces 
of gold for maintenance. 

" Moreover, he has decided and ordered that the 
Queen above all, and also the venerable father Don 
Philip of Cabassole, Bishop of Cavaillon, vice-chan- 
cellor of the kingdom of Sicily, and the magnificent 
lords Philip of Sanguineto, seneschal of Provence, 
Godfrey of Marsan, Count of Squillace, admiral 



of the kingdom, and Charles of Artois, Count of 
Aire, shall be governors, regents, and administra- 
tors of the aforesaid lord Andre and the aforesaid 
ladies Joan and Marie, until such time as the duke, 
the duchess, and the very illustrious lady Marie 
shall have attained their twenty-fifth year," etc. etc. 

When the vice-chancellor had finished reading, 
the king sat up, and glancing round upon his fair 
and numerous family, thus spoke: — 

" My children, you have heard my last wishes. 
I have bidden you all to my deathbed, that you may 
see how the glory of the world passes away. Those 
whom men name the great ones of the earth have 
more duties to perform, and after death more 
accounts to render : it is in this that their greatness 
lies. I have reigned thirty-three years, and God 
before whom I am about to appear, God to whom 
my sighs have often arisen during my long and 
painful life, God alone knows the thoughts that 
rend my heart in the hour of death. Soon shall I 
be lying in the tomb, and all that remains of me 
in this world will live in the memory of those who 
pray for me. But before I leave you for ever, you, 
oh, you who are twice my daughters, whom I have 
loved with a double love, and you my nephews who 
have had from me all the care and affection of a 
father, promise me to be ever united in heart and 
in wish, as indeed you are in my love. I have lived 



longer than your fathers, I the eldest of all, and 
thus no doubt God has wished to tighten the bonds 
of your affection, to accustom you to live in one 
family and to pay honour to one head. I have 
loved you all alike, as a father should, without 
exception or preference. I have disposed of my 
throne according to the law of nature and the inspi- 
ration of my conscience. Here are the heirs of the 
crown of Naples; you, Joan, and you, Andre, will 
never forget the love and respect that are due 
between husband and wife, and mutually sworn by 
you at the foot of the altar; and you, my nephews 
all, my barons, my officers, render homage to your 
lawful sovereigns; Andre of Hungary, Louis of 
Tarentum, Charles of Durazzo, remember that you 
are brothers; woe to him who shall imitate the 
perfidy of Cain! May his blood fall upon his own 
head, and may he be accursed by Heaven as he is 
by the mouth of a dying man ; and may the blessing 
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit descend 
upon that man whose heart is good, when the Lord 
of mercy shall call to my soul Himself! " 

The king remained motionless, his arms raised, 
his eyes fixed on heaven, his cheeks extraordinarily 
bright, while the princes, barons, and officers of 
the court proffered to Joan and her husband the 
oath of fidelity and allegiance. When it was the 
turn of the Princes of Duras to advance, Charles 



disdainfully stalked past Andre, and bending his 
knee before the princess, said in a loud voice, as he 
kissed her hand — 

" To you, my cjueen, I pay my homage." 

All looks were turned fearfully towards the 
dying man, but the good king no longer heard. 
Seeing him fall back rigid and motionless, Dona 
Sancha burst into sobs, and cried in a voice choked 
with tears — 

" The king is dead ; let us pray for his soul." 

At the very same moment all the princes hurried 
from the room, and every passion hitherto sup- 
pressed in the presence of the king now found its 
vent like a mighty torrent breaking through its 

"Long live Joan! " Robert of Cabane, Louis of 
Tarentum, and Bertrand of Artois were the first to 
exclaim, while the prince's tutor, furiously break- 
ing through the crowd and apostrophising the 
various members of the council of regency, cried 
aloud in varying tones of passion, " Gentlemen, you 
have forgotten the king's wish already; you must 
cry, 'Long live Andre!' too"; then, wedding 
example to precept, and himself making more noise 
than all the barons together, he cried in a voice of 
thunder — 

" Long live the King of Naples! " 

But there was no echo to his cry, and Charles of 


Durazzo, measuring the Dominican with a terrible 
look, approached the queen, and taking her by the 
hand, shd back the curtains of the balcony, from 
which was seen the square and the town of Naples. 
So far as the eye could reach there stretched an 
immense crowd, illuminated by streams of light, 
and thousands of heads were turned upward 
towards Castel Nuovo to gather any news that 
might be announced. Charles respectfully drawing 
back and indicating his fair cousin with his hand, 
cried out — 

" People of Naples, the King is dead : long live 
the Queen ! " 

" Long live Joan, Queen of Naples ! " replied the 
people, with a single mighty cry that resounded 
through every quarter of the town. 

The events that on this night had followed each 
other with the rapidity of a dream had produced 
so deep an impression on Joan's mind, that, agitated 
by a thousand different feelings, she retired to her 
own rooms, and shutting herself up in her cham- 
ber, gave free vent to her grief. So long as the 
conflict of so many ambitions waged about the 
tomb, the young queen, refusing every consolation 
that was offered her, wept bitterly for the death 
of her grandfather, who had loved her to the point 
of weakness. The king was buried with all solem- 
nity in the church of Santa Chiara, which he had 



himself founded and dedicated to the Holy Sacra- 
ment, enriching it with magnificent frescoes by 
Giotto and other precious relics, among which is 
shown still, behind the tribune of the high altar, 
two columns of white marble taken from Solomon's 
temple. There still lies Robert, represented on his 
tomb in the dress of a king and in a monk's frock, 
on the right of the monument to his son Charles, 
the Duke of Calabria. 



AS soon as the obsequies were over, Andre's 
tutor hastily assembled the chief Hungarian 
lords, and it was decided in a council held in the 
presence of the prince and with his consent, to send 
letters to his mother, Elizabeth of Poland, and his 
brother, Louis of Hungary, to make known to them 
the purport of Robert's will, and at the same time 
to lodge a complaint at the court of Avignon against 
the conduct of the princes and people of Naples in 
that they had proclaimed Joan alone Queen of 
Naples, thus overlooking the rights of her husband, 
and further to demand for him the pope's order for 
Andre's coronation. Friar Robert, who had not 
only a profound knowledge of the court intrigues, 
but also the experience of a philosopher and all a 
monk's cunning, told his pupil that he ought to 
profit by the depression of spirit the king's death 
had produced in Joan, and ought not to suffer her 
favourites to use this time in influencing her by 
their seductive counsels. 

But Joan's ability to receive consolation was quite 
as ready as her grief had at first been impetuous : 



the sobs which seemed to be breaking her heart 
ceased all at once; new thoughts, more gentle, less 
lugubrious, took possession of the young queen's 
mind; the trace of tears vanished, and a smile lit 
up her liquid eyes like the sun's ray following on 
rain. This change, anxiously awaited, was soon 
observed by Joan's chamberwoman : she stole to 
the queen's room, and falling on her knees, in 
accents of flattery and affection, she offered her first 
congratulations to her lovely mistress. Joan opened 
her arms and held her in a lonsf embrace ; for Dofia 
Cancha was far more to her than a lady-in-waiting; 
she was the companion of infancy, the depositary 
of all her secrets, the confidante of her most private 
thoughts. One had but to glance at this young girl 
to understand the fascination she could scarcely 
fail to exercise over the queen's mind. She had a 
frank and smiling countenance, such as inspires 
confidence and captivates the mind at first sight. 
Her face had an irresistible charm, with clear blue 
eyes, warm golden hair, mouth bewitchingly turned 
up at the corners, and delicate little chin. Wild, 
happy, light of heart, pleasure and love were the 
breath of her being; her dainty refinement, her 
charming inconstancies, all made her at sixteen as 
lovely as an angel, though at heart she was corrupt. 
The whole court was at her feet, and Joan felt more 
affection for her than for her own sister. 



" Well, my dear Cancha," she murmured, with a 
sigh, " you find me very sad and very unhappy ! " 

" And you find me, fair queen," rephed the con- 
fidante, fixing an admiring look on Joan, — " you 
find me just the opposite, very happy that I can lay 
at your feet before anyone else the proof of the 
joy that the people of Naples are at this moment 
feeling. Others perhaps may envy you the crown 
that shines upon your brow, the throne which is 
one of the noblest in the world, the shouts of this 
entire town that sound rather like worship than 
homage ; but I, madam, I envy you your lovely black 
hair, your dazzling eyes, your more than mortal 
grace, which make every man adore you." 

" And yet you know, my Cancha, I am much to 
be pitied both as a queen and as a woman: when 
one is fifteen a crown is heavy to wear, and I have 
not the liberty of the meanest of my subjects — I 
mean in my affections ; for before I reached an age 
when I could think I was sacrificed to a man whom 
I can never love." 

" Yet, madam," replied Cancha in a more insin- 
uating voice, " in this court there is a young cavalier 
who might by virtue of respect, love, and devotion 
have made you forget the claims of this foreigner, 
alike unworthy to be our king and to be your 

The queen heaved a heavy sigh. 


"When did you lose your skill to read my heart ? " 
she cried. " Must I actually tell you that this love 
is making me wretched? True, at the very first 
this unsanctioned love was a keen joy: a new life 
seemed to wake within my heart ; I was drawn on, 
fascinated by the prayers, the tears, and the despair 
of this man, by the opportunities that his mother 
so easily granted, she whom I had always looked 
upon as my own mother; I have loved him . . . O 
my God, I am still so young, and my past is so un- 
happy. At times strange thoughts come into my 
mind : I fancy he no longer loves me, that he never 
did love me; I fancy he has been led on by ambi- 
tion, by self-interest, by some ignoble motive, and 
has only feigned a feeling that he has never really 
felt. I feel myself a coldness I cannot account 
for ; in his presence I am constrained, I am troubled 
by his look, his voice makes me tremble : I fear 
him; I would sacrifice a year of my life could I 
never have listened to him." 

These words seemed to touch the young confi- 
dante to the very depths of her soul ; a shade of 
sadness crossed her brow, her eyelids dropped, and 
for some time she answered nothing, showing 
sorrow rather than surprise. Then, lifting her head 
gently, she said, with visible embarrassment — 

" I should never have dared to pass so severe a 
judgment upon a man whom my sovereign lady has 



raised above other men by casting upon him a look 
of kindness; but if Robert of Cabane has deserved 
the reproach of inconstancy and ingratitude, if he 
has perjured himself like a coward, he must indeed 
be the basest of all miserable beings, despising a 
happiness which other men might have entreated of 
God the whole time of their life and paid for 
through eternity. One man I know, who weeps 
both night and day without hope or consolation, 
consumed by a slow and painful malady, when one 
word might yet avail to save him, did it come from 
the lips of my noble mistress." 

" I will not hear another word," cried Joan, sud- 
denly rising; "there shall be no new cause for 
remorse in my life. Trouble has come upon me 
through my loves, both lawful and criminal ; alas ! 
no longer will I try to control my awful fate, I will 
bow my head without a murmur. I am the queen, 
and I must yield myself up for the good of my 

" Will you forbid me, madam," replied Dona 
Cancha m a kind, affectionate tone, — " will you 
forbid me to name Bertrand of Artois in your pres- 
ence, that unhappy man, with the beauty of an' 
angel and the modesty of a girl? Now that you are 
queen and have the life and death of your subjects 
in your own keeping, will you feel no kindness 
towards an unfortunate one whose only fault is to 



adore you, who strives with all his mind and 
strength to bear a chance look of yours without 
dying of his joy? " 

" I have struggled hard never to look on him," 
cried the queen, urged by an impulse she was not 
strong enough to conquer: then, to efface the im- 
pression that might well have been made on her 
friend's mind, she added severely, " I forbid you to 
pronounce his name before me; and if he should 
ever venture to complain, I bid you tell him from 
me that the first time I even suspect the cause of his 
distress he will be banished for ever from my 

" Ah, madam, dismiss me also ; for I shall never 
be strong enough to do so hard a bidding: the un- 
happy man who cannot awake in your heart so much 
as a feeling of pity may now be struck down by 
yourself in your wrath, for here he stands; he has 
heard your sentence, and come to die at your 

The last words were spoken in a louder voice, so 
that they might be heard from outside, and 
Bertrand of Artois came hurriedly into the room 
and fell on his knees before the queen. For a long 
time past the young lady-in-waiting had perceived 
that Robert of Cabane had, through his own fault, 
lost the love of Joan ; for his tyranny had indeed 
become more unendurable to her than her husband's. 



Dona Cancha had been quick enough to perceive 
that the eyes of her young mistress were wont to 
rest with a kind of melancholy gentleness on 
Bertrand, a young man of handsome appearance 
but with a sad and dreamy expression ; so when she 
made up her mind to speak in his interests, she was 
persuaded that the queen already loved him. Still, a 
bright colour overspread Joan's face, and her anger 
would have fallen on both culprits alike, when in 
the next room a sound of steps was heard, and the 
voice of the grand seneschal's widow in conversa- 
tion with her son fell on the ears of the three young 
people like a clap of thunder. Doiia Cancha, pale 
as death, stood trembling ; Bertrand felt that he was 
lost all the more because his presence compromised 
the queen ; Joan only, with that wonderful presence 
of mind she was destined to preserve in the most 
difficult crises of her future life, thrust the young 
man against the carved back of her bed, and con- 
cealed him completely beneath the ample curtain: 
she then signed to Cancha to go forward and meet 
the governess and her son. 

But before we conduct into the queen's room 
these two persons, whom our readers may remember 
in Joan's train about the bed of King Robert, we 
must relate the circumstances which had caused the 
family of the Catanese to rise with incredible 
rapidity from the lowest class of the people to the 



highest rank at court. When Doiia Violante of 
Aragon, first wife of Robert of Anjou, became the 
mother of Charles, who was later on the Duke of 
Calabria, a nurse was sought for the infant among 
the most handsome women of the people. After 
inspecting many women of equal merit as regards 
beauty, youth, and health, the princess's choice 
lighted on Philippa, a young Catanese woman, the 
wife of a fisherman of Trapani, and by condition a 
laundress. This young woman, as she washed her 
linen on the bank of a stream, had dreamed strange 
dreams: she had fancied herself summoned to 
court, wedded to a great personage, and receiving 
the honours of a great lady. Thus when she was 
called to Castel Nuovo her joy was great, for shci 
felt that her dreams now began to be realised. 
Philippa was installed at the court, and a few 
months after she began to nurse the child the fisher- 
man was dead and she was a widow. Meanwhile 
Raymond of Cabane, the major-domo of King 
Charles ii's house, had bought a negro from some 
corsairs, and having had him baptized by his own 
name, had given him his liberty; afterwards observ- 
ing that he was able and intelligent, he had 
appointed him head cook in the king's kitchen ; and 
then he had gone away to the war. During the 
absence of his patron the negro managed his own 
affairs at the court so cleverly, that in a short time 



he was able to buy land, houses, farms, silver plat:\ 
and horses, and could vie in riches with the best in 
the kingdom; and as he constantly won higher 
favour in the royal family, he passed on from the 
kitchen to the wardrobe. The Catanese had also 
deserved very well of her employers, and as a 
reward for the care she had bestowed on the child, 
the princess married her to the negro, and he, as a 
wedding gift, was granted the title of knight. 
From this day forward, Raymond of Cabane and 
Philippa the innndress rose in the world so rapidly 
that they had no equal in influence at court. After 
the death of Dona Violante, the Catanese became 
the intimate friend of Dona Sancha, Robert's 
second wife, whom we introduced to our readers at 
the beginning of this narrative. Charles, her foster- 
son, loved her as a mother, and she was the confi- 
dante of his two wives in turn, especially of the 
second wife, Marie of Valois. And as the quondam 
laundress had in the end learned all the manners 
and customs of the court, she was chosen at the 
birth of Joan and her sister to be governess and 
mistress over the young girls, and at this juncture 
Raymond was created major-domo. Finally, Marie 
of Valois on her deathbed commended the two 
young princesses to her care, begging her to look on 
them as her own daughters. Thus Philippa the 
Catanese, honoured in future as foster mother of 



the heiress to the throne of Naples, had power to 
nominate her husband grand seneschal, one of the 
seven most important offices in the kingdom, and 
to obtain knighthood for her sons. Raymond of 
Cabane was buried like a king in a marble tomb 
in the church of the Holy Sacrament, and there 
he was speedily joined by two of his sons. The 
third, Robert, a youth of extraordinary strength 
and beauty, gave up an ecclesiastical career, and 
was himself made major-domo, his two sisters 
being married to the Count of Merlizzi and the 
Count of Morcone respectively. This was now the 
state of affairs, and the influence of the grand 
seneschal's widow seemed for ever established, when 
an unexpected event suddenly occurred, causing 
such injury as might well suffice to upset the edifice 
of her fortunes that had been raised stone by stone 
so patiently and slowly : this edifice was now under- 
mined and threatened to fall in a single day. It 
was the sudden apparition of Friar Robert, who 
followed to the court of Rome his young pupil, 
who from infancy had been Joan's destined hus- 
band, which thus shattered all the designs of the 
Catanese and seriously menaced her future. The 
monk had not been slow to understand that so long 
as she remained at the court, Andre would be no 
more than the slave, possibly even the victim, of his 
wife. Thus all Friar Robert's thoughts were 

I Si 7 Dumas— Vol. 0— B 


obstinately concentrated on a single end, that of 
getting rid of the Catanese or neutralising her 
influence The prince's tutor and the governess of 
the heiress had but to exchange one glance, icy, 
penetrating, plain to read: their looks met like 
lightning flashes of hatred and of vengeance. The 
Catanese v^^ho felt she was detected, lacked courage 
to fight this man in the open, and so conceived the 
hope of strengthening her tottering empire by the 
arts of corruption and debauchery. She instilled by 
degrees into her pupil's mind the poison of vice, 
inflamed her youthful imagination with precocious 
desires, sowed in her heart the seeds of an uncon- 
querable aversion for her husband, surrounded the 
poor child with abandoned women, and especially 
attached to her the beautiful and attractive Doiia 
Cancha, who is branded by contemporary authors 
with the name of a courtesan; then summed up all 
these lessons in infamy by prostituting Joan to her 
own son. The poor girl, polluted by sin before she 
knew what life was, threw her whole self into this 
first passion with all the ardour of youth, and loved 
Robert of Cabane so violently, so madly, that the 
Catanese congratulated herself on the success of 
her infamy, believing that she held her prey so 
fast in her toils that her victim would never attempt 
to escape them. 

A year passed by before Joan, conquered by her 


infatuation, conceived the smallest suspicion of her 
lover's sincerity. He, more ambitious than affec- 
tionate, found it easy to conceal his coldness under 
the cloak of a brotherly intimacy, of blind submis- 
sion, and of unswerving devotion; perhaps he 
would have deceived his mistress for a longer time 
had not Bertrand of Artois fallen madly in love 
with Joan. Suddenly the bandage fell from the 
young girl's eyes; comparing the two with the 
natural instinct of a woman beloved which never 
goes astray, she perceived that Robert of Cabane 
loved her for his own sake, while Bertrand of 
Artois would give his life to make her happy. A 
light fell upon her past: she mentally recalled the 
circumstances that preceded and accompanied her 
earliest love; and a shudder went through her at 
the thought that she had been sacrificed to a cow- 
ardly seducer by the very woman she had loved most 
in the world, whom she had called by the name of 

Joan drew back into herself, and wept bitterly. 
Wounded by a single blow in all her affections, at 
first her grief absorbed her; then, roused to sudden 
anger, she proudly raised her head, for now her 
Jove was changed to scorn. Robert, amazed at her 
cold and haughty reception of him, following on so 
great a love, was stung by jealousy and wounded 
pride. He broke out into bitter reproach and 



violent recrimination, and, letting fall the mask, 
once for all lost his place in Joan's heart. 

His mother at last saw that it was time to inter- 
fere : she rebuked her son, accusing him of upsetting 
all her plans by his clumsiness. 

" As you have failed to conquer her by love," 
she said, " you must now subdue her by fear. The 
secret of her honour is in our hands, and she will 
never dare to rebel. She plainly loves Bertrand of 
Artois, whose languishing eyes and humble sighs 
contrast in a striking manner with your haughty 
indifference and your masterful ways. The mother 
of the Princes of Tarentum, the Empress of Con- 
stantinople, will easily seize an occasion of helping 
on the princess's love so as to alienate her more and 
more from her husband: Cancha will be the go- 
between, and sooner or later we shall find Bertrand 
at Joan's feet. Then she will be able to refuse us 

While all this was going on, the old king died, 
and the Catanese, who had unceasingly kept on the 
watch for the moment she had so plainly foreseen, 
loudly called to her son, when she saw Bertrand slip 
into Joan's apartment, saying as she drew him after 
her — 

" Follow me, the queen is ours." 

It was thus that she and her son came to be 
there. Joan, standing in the middle of the chamber, 



pallid, her eyes fixed on the curtams of the bed, 
concealed her agitation with a smile, and took one 
step forward towards her governess, stooping to 
receive the kiss which the latter bestowed upon her 
every morning. The Catanese embraced her with 
afifected cordiality, and turning to her son, who 
had knelt upon one knee, said, pointing to Robert — 

" My fair queen, allow the humblest of your 
subjects to offer his sincere congratulations and to 
lay his homage at your feet." 

" Rise, Robert," said Joan, extending her hand 
kindly, and with no show of bitterness. " We were 
brought up together, and I shall never forget 
that in our childhood — I mean those happy days 
when we were both innocent — I called you my 

" As you allow me, madam," said Robert, with 
an ironical smile, " I too shall always remember the 
names you formerly gave me." 

" And I," said the Catanese, " shall forget that 
I speak to the Queen of Naples, in embracing once 
more my beloved daughter. Come, madam, away 
with care : you have wept long enough ; we have 
long respected your grief. It is now time to show 
yourself to these good Neapolitans who bless 
Heaven continually for granting them a queen so 
beautiful and good; it is time that your favours 
rain upon the. heads of your faithful subjects; and 




my son, who surpasses all in his fidelity, comes first 
to ask a favour of you, in order that he may serve 
you yet more zealously." 

Joan cast on Robert a withering look, and, speak- 
ing to the Catanese, said with a scornful air — 

" You know, madam, I can refuse your son 

" All he asks," continued the lady, " is a title 
which is his due, and which he inherited from his 
father — the title of Grand Seneschal of the Two 
Sicilies: I trust, my daughter, you will have no 
difficulty in granting this." 

"But I must consult the council of regency." 

" The council will hasten to ratify the queen's 
wishes," replied Robert, handing her the parchment 
with an imperious gesture : " you need only speak 
to the Count of Artois." 

And he cast a threatening glance at the curtain, 
which had slightly moved, 

"You are right," said the queen at once; and 
going up to a table she signed the parchment with 
a trembling hand. 

" Now, my daughter, I have come in the name 
of all the care I bestowed on your infancy, of all 
the maternal love I have lavished on you, to implore 
a favour that my family will remember for ever- 

The queen recoiled one step, crimson with aston- 


ishment and rage; but before she could find words 
to reply, the lady continued in a voice that betrayed 
no feeling — 

" I request you to make my son Count of Eboli." 

" That has nothing to do with me, madam ; the 
barons of this kingdom would revolt to a man if I 
were on my own authority to exalt to one of the 
first dignities the son of a " 

" A laundress and a negro, you would say, 
madam?" said Robert, with a sneer. " Bertrand 
of Artois would be annoyed perhaps if I had a title 
like his." 

He advanced a step towards the bed, his hand 
upon the hilt of his sword. 

" Have mercy, Robert! " cried the queen, check- 
ing him: " I will do all you ask." 

And she signed the parchment naming him Count 
of Eboli. 

" And now," Robert went on impudently, " to 
show that my new title is not illusory, while you 
are busy about signing documents, let me have the 
privilege of taking part in the councils of the crown : 
make a declaration that, subject to your good 
pleasure, my mother and I are to have a delibera- 
tive voice in the council whenever an important 
matter is under discussion." 

" Never ! " cried Joan, turning pale. " Philippa 
and Robert, you abuse my weakness and treat your 



queen shamefully. In the last few da^'s I have 
wept and suffered continually, overcome by a 
terrible grief; I have no strength to turn to business 
now. Leave me, I beg: I feel my strength gives 

" What, my daughter," cried the Catanese hypo- 
critically, "are you feeling unwell? Come and lie 
down at once." And hurrying to the bed, she took 
hold of the curtain that concealed the Count of 

The queen uttered a piercing cry, and threw her- 
self before Philippa with the fury of a lioness. 
"Stop!" she cried in a choking voice; "take the 
privilege you ask, and now, if you value your own 
life, leave me." 

The Catanese and her son departed instantly, not 
even waiting to reply, for they had got all they 
wanted; while Joan, trembling, ran desperately up 
to Bertrand, who had angrily drawn his dagger, 
and would have fallen upon the two favourites to 
take vengeance for the insults they had offered to 
the queen; but he was very soon disarmed by the 
lovely shining eyes raised to him in supplication, . 
the two arms cast about him, and the tears shed by 
Joan : he fell at her feet and kissed them raptu- 
rously, with no thought of seeking excuse for his 
presence with no word of love, for it was as if 
they had loved always: he lavished the tenderest 



caresses on her, dried her tears, and pressed his 
trembling lips upon her lovely head. Joan began 
to forget her anger, her vows, and her repentance: 
soothed by the music of her lover's speech, she 
returned uncomprehending monosyllables : her 
heart beat till it felt like breaking, and once more 
she was falling beneath love's resistless spell, when 
a new interruption occurred, shaking her roughly 
out of her ecstasy; but this time the young count 
was able to pass quietly and calmly into a room 
adjoining, and Joan prepared to receive her im- 
portunate visitor with severe and frigid dignity. 

The individual who arrived at so inopportune a 
moment was little calculated to smooth Joan's 
ruffled brow, being Charles, the eldest son of the 
Durazzo family. After he had introduced his fair 
cousin to the people as their only legitimate sov- 
ereign, he had sought on various occasions to obtain 
an interview with her, which in all probability 
would be decisive, Charles was one of those men 
who to gain their end recoil at nothing; devoured 
by raging ambition and accustomed from his earliest 
years to conceal his most ardent desires beneath a 
mask of careless indifference, he marched ever 
onward, plot succeeding plot, towards the object 
he was bent upon securing, and never deviated one 
hair's-breadth from the path he had marked out, 
but only acted with double prudence after each 



victory, and with double courage after each defeat 
His cheek grew pale with joy ; when he hated most, 
he smiled; in all the emotions of his life, however 
strong, he was inscrutable. He had sworn to sit 
on the throne of Naples, and long had believed 
himself the rightful heir, as being nearest of kin 
to Robert of all his nephews. To him the hand of 
Joan would have been given, had not the old king 
in his latter days conceived the plan of bringing 
Andre from Hungary and re-establishing the elder 
branch in his person, though that had long since 
been forgotten. But his resolution had never for 
a moment been weakened by the arrival of Andre 
in the kingdom, or by the profound indifference 
wherewith Joan, preoccupied with other passion, 
had always received the advances of her cousin 
Charles of Durazzo, Neither the love of a woman 
nor the life of a man was of any account to him 
when a crown was weighed in the other scale of 
the balance. 

During the whole time that the queen had re- 
mained invisible, Charles had hung about her apart- 
ments, and now came into her presence with 
respectful eagerness to inquire for his cousin's 
health. The young duke had been at pains to set 
off his noble features and elegant figure by a mag- 
nificent dress covered with golden fleur-de-lys and 
glittering with precious stones. His doublet of 



scarlet velvet and cap of the same showed up by 
their own splendour the warm colouring of his 
skin, while his face seemed illumined by his black 
eyes that shone keen as an eagle's. 

Charles spoke long with his cousin of the people's 
enthusiasm on her accession and of the brilliant 
destiny before her; he drew a hasty but truthful 
sketch of the state of the kingdom; and while he 
lavished praises on the queen's wisdom, he cleverly 
pointed out what reforms were most urgently 
needed by the country ; he contrived to put so much 
warmth, yet so much reserve, into his speech that 
he destroyed the disagreeable impression his arrival 
had produced. In spite of the irregularities of her 
youth and the depravity brought about by her 
wretched education, Joan's nature impelled her to 
noble action: when the welfare of her subjects was 
concerned, she rose above the limitations of her 
age and sex, and, forgetting her strange position, 
listened to the Duke of Durazzo with the liveliest 
interest and the kindliest attention. He then 
hazarded allusions to the dangers that beset a young 
queen, spoke vaguely of the difficulty in distinguish- 
ing between true devotion and cowardly complai- 
sance or interested attachment; he spoke of the 
ingratitude of many who had been loaded with 
benefits, and had been most completely trusted. 
Joan, who had just learned the truth of his words 



by sad experience, replied with a sigh, and after a 
moment's silence added — 

" May God, whom I call to witness for the loyalty 
and uprightness of my intentions, may God unmask 
all traitors and show me my true friends ! I know 
that the burden laid upon me is heavy, and I pre- 
sume not on my strength, but I trust that the tried 
experience, of those counsellors to whom my 
uncle entrusted me, the support of my family, and 
your warm and sincere friendship above all, 
my dear cousin, will help me to accomplish my 

" My sincerest prayer is that you may succeed, 
my fair cousin, and I will not darken with doubts 
and fears a time that ought to be given up to joy; 
I will not mingle with the shouts of gladness that 
rise on all sides to proclaim you queen, any vain 
regrets over that blind fortune which has placed 
beside the woman whom we all alike adore, whose 
single glance would make a man more blest than 
the angels, a foreigner unworthy of your love 
and unworthy of your throne." 

" You forget, Charles," said the queen, putting 
out her hand as though to check his words, " Andre 
is my husband, and it was my grandfather's will 
that he should reign with me." 

"Never!" cried the duke indignantly; "he 
King of Naples! Nay, dream that the town is 



shaken to its very foundations, that the people rise 
as one man, that our church bells sound anew 
Sicilian vespers, before the people of Naples will 
endure the rule of a handful of wild Hungarian 
drunkards, a deformed canting monk, a prince 
detested by them even as you are beloved ! " 

"But why is Andre blamed? What has he 

" What has he done ? Why is he blamed, 
madam? The people blame him as stupid, coarse, a 
savage; the nobles blame him for ignoring their 
privileges and openly supporting men of obscure 
birth; and I, madam," — here he lowered his voice, — 
" I blame him for making you unhappy." 

Joan shuddered as though a wound had been 
touched by an unkind hand ; but hiding her emotion 
beneath an appearance of calm, she replied in a 
voice of perfect indifference — 

" You must be dreaming, Charles ; who has given 
you leave to suppose I am unhappy ? " 

" Do not try to excuse him, my dear cousin," 
replied Charles eagerly; "you will injure yourself 
without saving him." 

The queen looked fixedly at her cousin, as though 
she would read him through and through and find 
out the meaning of his words ; but as she could not 
give credence to the horrible thought that crossed 
her mind, she assumed a complete confidence in her 



cousin's friendship, with a view to discovering his 
plans, and said carelessly — 

" Well, Charles, suppose I am not happy, what 
remedy could you offer me that I might escape my 

" You ask me that, my dear cousin? Are not all 
remedies good when you suffer, and when you wish 
for revenge? " 

" One must fly to those means that are possible. 
Andre will not readily give up his pretensions: he 
has a party of his own, and in case of open rupture, 
his brother the King of Hungary may declare war 
upon us, and bring ruin and desolation upon our 

The Duke of Duras faintly smiled, and his coun- 
tenance assumed a sinister expression. 

" You do not understand me," he said. 

" Then explain without circumlocution," said the 
queen, trying to conceal the convulsive shudder that 
ran through her limbs. 

" Listen, Joan," said Charles, taking his cousin's 
hand and laying it upon his heart : " can you feel 
that dagger? " 

" I can," said Joan, and she turned pale. 

" One word from you — and " 


" To-morrow you will be free." 

"A murder!" cried Joan, recoiling in horror: 


" then I was not deceived; it is a-murder that you 
have proposed." 

"It is a necessity,'' said the duke calmly: "to- 
day I advise; later on you will give your orders." 

" Enough, wretch ! I cannot tell if you are more 
cowardly or more rash: cowardly, because you 
reveal a criminal plot feeling sure that I shall never 
denounce you; rash, because in revealing it to me 
you cannot tell what witnesses are near to hear it 

" In any case, madam, since I have put myself in 
your hands, you must perceive that I cannot leave 
you till I know if I must look upon myself as your 
friend or as your enemy." 

" Leave me," cried Joan, with a disdainful ges- 
ture ; "you insult your queen." 

" You forget, my dear cousin, that some day I 
may very likely have a claim to your kingdom." 

"Do not force me to have you turned out of this 
room," said Joan, advancing towards the door. 

" Now do not get excited, my fair cousin ; I am 
going: but at least remember that I offered you my 
hand and you refused it. Remember what I say at 
this solemn moment : to-day I am the guilty man ; 
some day perhaps I may be the judge." 

He went away slowly, twice turning his head, 
repeating in the language of signs his menacing 
prophecy. Joan hid her face in her hands, and for 



a long time remained plunged in dismal reflections ; 
then anger got the better of all her other feelings, 
and she summoned Dofia Cancha, bidding her not to 
allow anybody to enter, on any pretext whatsoever. 
This prohibition was not for the Count of Artois, 
for the reader will remember that he was in the 
adjoining room. 



NIGHT fell, and from the Molo to the Mergel- 
Una, from the Capuano Castle to the hill of 
St. Elmo, deep silence had succeeded the myriad 
sounds that go up from the noisiest city in the 
world. Charles of Durazzo, quickly walking away 
from the square of the Correggi, first casting one 
last look of vengeance at the Castel Nuovo, plunged 
into the labyrinth of dark streets that twist and 
turn, cross and recross one another, in this ancient 
city, and after a quarter of an hour's walking, that 
was first slow, then very rapid, arrived at his ducal 
palace near the church of San Giovanni al Mare. 
He gave certain instructions in a harsh, peremptory 
tone to a page who took his sword and cloak. Then 
Charles shut himself into his room, without going 
up to see his poor mother, v.ho was weeping, sad and 
solitary, over her son's ingratitude, and like every 
other mother taking her revenge by praying God 
to bless him. 

The Duke of Durazzo walked up and down his 


room several times like a lion in a cage, counting 
the minutes in a fever of impatience, and was on 
the point of summoning a servant and renewing 
his commands, when two dull raps on the door in- 
formed him that the person he was waiting for had 
arrived. He opened at once, and a man of about 
fifty, dressed in black from head to foot, entered, 
humbly bowing, and carefully shut the door behind 
him. Charles threw himself into an easy-chair, and 
gazing fixedly at the man who stood before him, his 
eyes on the ground and his arms crossed upon his 
breast in an attitude of the deepest respect and blind 
obedience, he said slowly, as though weighing each 
word — 

" Master Nicholas of Melazzo, have you any re- 
membrance left of the services I once rendered 

The man to whom these words were addressed 
trembled in every limb, as if he heard the voice of 
Satan come to claim his soul; then lifting a look of 
terror to his questioner's face, he asked in a voice 
of gloom — 

" What have I done, my lord, to deserve this 
reproach ? " 

" It is not a reproach : I ask a simple question." 
" Can my lord doubt for a moment of my eternal 
gratitude? Can I forget the favours your Excel- 
lency showed me? Even if I could so lose my 



reason and my memory, are not my wife and son 
ever here to remind me that to you we owe all — 
our life, our honour, and our fortune? I was 
guilty of an infamous act," said the notary, lower- 
ing his voice, " a crime that would not only have 
brought upon my head the penalty of death, but 
which meant the confiscation of my goods, the ruin 
of my family, poverty and shame for my only son 
• — that very son, sire, for whom I, miserable wretch, 
had wished to ensure a brilliant future by means of 
my frightful crime: you had in your hands the 
proofs of this " 

" I have them still." 

" And you will not ruin me, my lord," resumed 
the notary, trembling; "I am at your feet, your 
Excellency; take my life and I will die in torment 
without a murmur, but save my son, since you have 
been so merciful as to spare him till now; have pity 
on his mother ; my lord, have pity ! " 

" Be assured," said Charles, signing to him to 
rise; " it is nothing to do with your life; that will 
come later, perhaps. What I wish to ask of you 
now is a much simpler, easier matter." 

" My lord, I await your command." 

" First," said the duke, in a voice of playful 
irony, " you must draw up a formal contract of my 

" At once, your Excellency." 


" You are to write in the first article that my wife 
brings me as dowry the county of Alba, the juris- 
diction of Grati and Giordano, with all castles, fiefs, 
and lands dependent thereto." 

" But, my lord " replied the poor notary, 

greatly embarrassed. 

" Do you find any difficulty, Master Nicholas ? " 

" God forbid, your Excellency, but " 

"Well, what is it?" 

" Because, if my lord will permit — because there 
is only one person in Naples who possesses that 
dowry your Excellency mentions." 

"And so?" 

" And she," stammered the notary, embarrassed 
more and more, — " she is the queen's sister." 

" And in the contract you will write the name of 
Marie of Anjou." 

" But the young maiden," replied Nicholas tim- 
idly, " whom your Excellency would marry is des- 
tined, I thought, under the will of our late king 
of blessed memory, to become the wife of the King 
of Hungary or else of the grandson of the King 
of France." 

" Ah, I understand your surprise : you may learn 
from this that an uncle's intentions are not always 
the same as his nephew's." 

" In that case, sire, if I dared — -if my lord would 
deign to give me leave — if I had an opinion I might 



give, I would humbly entreat your Excellency to 
reflect that this would mean the abduction of a 

" Since when did you learn to be scrupulous, Mas- 
ter Nicholas? " 

These words were uttered with a glance so terri- 
ble that the poor notary was crushed, and had 
hardly the strength to reply — 

" In an hour the contract will be ready." 

" Good: we agree as to the first point," continued 
Charles, resuming his natural tone of voice, " You 
now will hear my second charge. You have known 
the Duke of Calabria's valet for the last two years 
pretty intimately?" 

" Tommaso Pace; why, he is my best friend." 

" Excellent. Listen, and remember that on your 
discretion the safety or ruin of your family depends. 
A plot will soon be on foot gainst the queen's hus- 
band ; the conspirators no doubt will gain over An- 
dre's valet, the man you call your best friend; 
never leave him for an instant, try to be his shadow ; 
day by day and hour by hour come to me and report 
the progress of the plot, the names of the plotters." 

" Is this all your Excellency's command? " 


The notary respectfully bowed, and withdrew to 
put the orders at once into execution. Charles spent 
the rest of that night writing to his uncle the Car- 



dinal de Perigord, one of the most influential prel- 
ates at the court of Avignon. He begged him be- 
fore all things to use his authority so as to prevent 
Pope Clement vi from signing the bull that would 
sanction Andre's coronation, and he ended his let- 
ter by earnestly entreating his uncle to win the 
pope's consent to his marriage with the queen's 

" We shall see, fair cousin," he said as he sealed 
his letter, *' which of us is best at understanding 
where our interest lies. You would not have me as 
a friend, so you shall have me as an enemy. Sleep 
on in the arms of your lover : I will wake you when 
the time comes. I shall be Duke of Calabria per- 
haps some day, and that title, as you well know, 
belongs to the heir to the throne." 

The next day and on the following days a remark- 
able change took place in the behaviour of Charles 
towards Andre: he showed him signs of great 
friendliness, cleverly flattering his inclinations, and 
even persuading Friar Robert that, far from feeling 
any hostility in the matter of Andre's coronation, 
his most earnest desire was that his uncle's wishes 
should be respected ; and that, though he might have 
given the impression of acting contrary to them, it 
had only been done with a view to appeasing the 
populace, who in their first excitement might have 
been stirred up to insurrection against the Hunga- 



rians. He declared with much warmth that he heart- 
ily detested the people about the queen, whose coun- 
sels tended to lead her astray, and he promised to 
join Friar Robert in the endeavour to get rid of 
Joan's favourites by all such means as fortune might 
put at his disposal. Although the Dominican did 
not believe in the least in the sincerity of his ally's 
protestations, he yet gladly welcomed the aid which 
might prove so useful to the prince's cause, and 
attributed the sudden change of front to some re- 
cent rupture between Charles and his cousin, prom- 
ising himself that he would make capital out of his 
resentment. Be that as it might, Charles wormed 
himself into Andre's heart, and after a few days 
one of them could hardly be seen without the other. 
If Andre went out hunting, his greatest pleasure in 
life, Charles was eager to put his pack or his falcons 
at his disposal; if Andre rode through the town, 
Charles was always ambling by his side. He gave 
way to his whims, urged him to extravagances, and 
inflamed his angry passions : in a word, he was the 
good angel — or the bad one — who inspired his every 
thought and guided his every action. 

Joan soon understood this business, and as a fact 
had expected it. She could have ruined Charles 
with a single word; but she scorned so base a re- 
venge, and treated him with utter contempt. Thus 
the court was split into two factions: the Hunga- 



rians with Friar Robert at their head and supported 
by Charles of Durazzo; on the other side all the 
nobility of Naples, led by the Princes of Tarentum. 
Joan, influenced by the grand seneschal's widow and 
her two daughters, the Countesses of Terlizzi and 
Morcone, and also by Dona Cancha and the Empress 
of Constantinople, took the side of the Neapolitan 
party against the pretensions of her husband. The 
partisans of the queen made it their first care to 
have her name inscribed upon all public acts with- 
out adding Andre's; but Joan, led by an instinct 
of right and justice amid all the corruption of her 
court, had only consented to this last after she had 
taken counsel with Andre d'Isernia, a very learned 
lawyer of the day, respected as much for his lofty 
character as for his great learning. The prince, 
annoyed at being shut out in this way, began to act 
in a violent and despotic manner. On his own 
authority he released prisoners; he showered 
favours upon Hungarians, and gave especial hon- 
ours and rich gifts to Giovanni Pipino, Count of 
Altanuera, the enemy of all others most dreaded 
and detested by the Neapolitan barons. Then the 
Counts of San Severino, Mileto, Terhzzi and Balzo, 
Calanzaro and Sant' Angelo, and most of the gran- 
dees, exasperated by the haughty insolence of An- 
dre's favourite, which grew every day more out- 
rageous, decided that he must perish, and his mas- 



ter with him, should he persist in attacking their 
privileges and defying their anger. 

Moreover, the women who were about Joan at 
the court egged her on, each one urged by a private 
interest, in the pursuit of her fresh passion. Poor 
Joan, neglected by her husband and betrayed by 
Robert of Cabane, gave way beneath the burden of 
duties beyond her strength to bear, and fled for 
refuge to the arms of Bertrand of Artois, whose 
love she did not even attempt to resist ; for every 
feehng for religion and virtue had been destroyed 
in her of set purpose, and her young inclinations 
had been early bent towards vice, just as the bodies 
of wretched children are bent and their bones broken 
by jugglers when they train them. Bertrand him- 
self felt an adoration for her surpassing ordinary 
human passion. When he reached the summit of a 
happiness to which in his wildest dreams he had 
never dared to aspire, the young count nearly lost 
his reason. In vain had his father, Charles of 
Artois (who v^'as Count of Aire, a direct descendant 
of Philip the Bold, and one of the regents of the 
kingdom), attempted by severe admonitions to stop 
him while yet on the brink of the precipice: Ber- 
trand would listen to nothing but his love for Joan 
and his implacable hatred for all the queen's ene- 
mies. Many a time, at the close of day, as the 
breeze from Posilippo or Sorrento coming from far 



away was playing in his hair, might Bertrand be 
seen leaning from one of the casements of Castel 
Nuovo, pale and motionless, gazing fixedly from 
his side of the square to where the Duke of Calabria 
and the Duke of Durazzo came galloping home 
from their evening ride side by side in a cloud of 
dust. Then the brows of the young count were 
violently contracted, a savage, sinister look shona 
in his blue eyes once so innocent, like lightning a 
thought of death and vengeance flashed into his 
mind; he would all at once begin to tremble, as a 
light hand was laid upon his shoulder; he would 
turn softly, fearing lest the divine apparition should 
vanish to the skies; but there beside him stood a 
young girl, with cheeks aflame and heaving breast, 
with brilliant liquid eyes : she had come to tell how 
her past day had been spent, and to offer her fore- 
head for the kiss that should reward her labours 
and unwilling absence. This woman, dictator of 
laws and administrator of justice among grave 
magistrates and stern ministers, was but fifteen 
years old; this man, who knew her griefs, and to 
avenge them was meditating regicide, was not yet' 
twenty : two children of earth, the playthings of an 
awful destiny! 

Two months and a few days after the old king's 
death, on the morning of Friday the 28th of March 
of the same year, 1343, the widow of the grand 



seneschal, Philippa, who had already contrived to 
get forgiven for the shameful trick she had used to 
secure all her son's wishes, entered the queen's apart- 
ments, excited by a genuine fear, pale and dis- 
tracted, the bearer of news that spread terror and 
lamentation throughout the court: Marie, the 
queen's younger sister, had disappeared. 

The gardens and outside courts had been searched 
for any trace of her; every corner of the castle had 
been examined; the guards had been threatened 
with torture, so as to drag the truth from them ; no 
one had seen anything of the princess, and nothing 
could be found that suggested either flight or abduc- 
tion. Joan, struck down by this new blow in the 
midst of other troubles, was for a time utterly pros- 
trated ; then, when she had recovered from her first 
surprise, she behaved as all people do if despair 
takes the place of reason : she gave orders for what 
was already done to be done again, she asked the 
same questions that could only bring the same an- 
swers, and poured forth vain regrets and unjust 
reproaches. The news spread through the town, 
causing the greatest astonishment: there arose a 
great commotion in the castle, and the members of 
the regency hastily assembled, while couriers were 
sent out in every direction, charged to promise 12,- 
000 ducats to whomsoever should discover the place 
where the princess was concealed. Proceedings 



were at once taken against the soldiers who were on 
guard at the fortress at the time of the dis- 

Bertrand of Artois drew the queen apart, telhng 
her his suspicions, which fell directly upon Charles 
of Durazzo; but Joan lost no time in persuading 
him of the improbability of his hypothesis: first of 
all, Charles had never once set his foot in Castel 
Nuovo since the day of his stormy interview with 
the queen, but had made a point of always leaving 
Andre by the bridge when he came to the town with 
him ; besides, it had never been noticed, even in the 
past, that the young duke had spoken to Marie or 
exchanged looks with her : the result of all attain- 
able evidence was, that no stranger had entered 
the castle the evening before except a notary named 
Master Nicholas of Melazzo, an old person, half 
silly, half fanatical, for whom Tommaso Pace, valet 
de chambre to the Duke of Calabria, was ready to 
answer with his life. Bertrand yielded to the 
queen's reasoning, and day by day advanced new 
suggestions, each less probable than the last, to draw 
his mistress on to feel a hope that he was far from 
feeling himself. 

But a month later, and precisely on the morning 
of Monday the 30th of April, a strange and unex- 
pected scene took place, an exhibition of boldness 
transcending all calculations. The Neapolitan peo- 



pie were stupefied in astonishment, and the grief of 
Joan and her friends was changed to indignation. 
Just as the clock of San Giovanni struck twelve, the 
gate of the magnificent palace of the Durazzo flung 
open its folding doors, and there came forth to the 
sound of trumpets a double file of cavaliers on 
richly caparisoned horses, with the duke's arms on 
their shields. They took up their station round the 
house to prevent the people outside from disturbing 
a ceremony which was to take place before the eyes 
of an immense crowd, assembled suddenly, as by a 
miracle, upon the square. At the back of the court 
stood an altar, and upon the steps lay two crimson 
velvet cushions embroidered with the fleur-de-lys of 
France and the ducal crown. Charles came for- 
ward, clad in a dazzling dress, and holding by the 
hand the cjueen's sister, the Princess Marie, at that 
time almost thirteen years of age. She knelt down 
timidly on one of the cushions, and when Charles 
had done the same, the grand almoner of the Duras 
house asked the young duke solem.nly what was his 
intention in appearing thus humbly before a minis- 
ter of the Church. At these words Master Nicholas 
of Melazzo took his place on the left of the altar, 
and read in a firm, clear voice, first, the contract of 
marriage between Charles and Marie, and then the 
apostolic letters from His Holiness the sovereign 
pontiff, Clement vi, who in his own name removing 



all obstacles that might impede the union, such as 
the age of the young bride and the degrees of affin- 
ity between the two parties, authorised his dearly 
beloved son Charles, Duke of Durazzo and Albania, 
to take in marriage the most illustrious Marie of 
Anjou, sister of Joan, Queen of Naples and Jeru- 
salem, and bestowed his benediction on the pair. 

The almoner then took the young girl's hand, and 
placing it in that of Charles, pronounced the prayers 
of the Church. Charles, turning half round to the 
people, said in a loud voice — 

" Before God and man, this woman is my wife." 

"And this man is my husband," said Marie, 

*' Long live the Duke and Duchess of Durazzo ! " 
cried the crowd, clapping their hands. And the 
young pair, at once mounting two beautiful horses 
and followed by their cavaliers and pages, solemnly 
paraded through the town, and re-entered their pal- 
ace to the sound of trumpets and cheering. 

When this incredible news was brought to the 
queen, her first feeling was joy at the recovery of 
her sister; and when Bertrand of Artois was eager, 
to head a band of barons and cavaliers and bent on 
falling upon the cortege to punish the traitor, Joan 
put up her hand to stop him with a very mourn- 
ful look. 

"Alas!" she said sadly, "it is too late. They 


are legally married, for the head of the Church — • 
who is moreover by my grandfather's will the head 
of our family — has granted his permission. I only 
pity my poor sister; I pity her for becoming so 
young the prey of a wretched man who sacrifices 
her to his own ambition, hoping by this marriage 
to establish a claim to the throne. O God! what a 
strange fate oppresses the royal house of Anjou! 
My father's early death in the midst of his triumphs; 
my mother's so quickly after; my sister and I, the 
sole offspring of Charles i, both before we are 
women grown fallen into the hands of cowardly 
men, who use us but as the stepping-stones of their 
ambition ! " Joan fell back exhausted on her chair, 
a burning tear trembling on her eyelid. 

" This is the second time," said Bertrand re- 
proachfully, " that I have drawn my sword to 
avenge an insult offered to you, the second time I 
return it by your orders to the scabbard. But re- 
member, Joan, the third time will not find me so 
docile, and then it will not be Robert of Cabane or 
Charles of Durazzo that I shall strike, but him who 
is the cause of all your misfortunes." 

" Have mercy, Bertrand ! do not you also speak 
these words; whenever this horrible thought takes 
hold of me, let me come to you : this threat of blood- 
shed that is drummed into my ears, this sinister 
vision that haunts my sight ; let me come to you, be- 



loved, and weep upon your bosom, beneath your 
breath cool my burning fancies, from your eyes 
draw some little courage to revive my perishing 
soul. Come, I am quite unhappy enough without 
needing to poison the future by an endless remorse. 
Tell me rather to forgive and to forget, speak not 
of hatred and revenge; show me one ray of hope 
amid the darkness that surrounds me; hold up my 
wavering feet, and push me not into the abyss." 

Such altercations as this were repeated as often 
as any fresh wrong arose from the side of Andre 
or his party ; and in proportion as the attacks made 
by Bertrand and his friends gained in vehemence — • 
and we must add, in justice — so did Joan's objec- 
tions weaken. The Hungarian rule, as it became 
more and more arbitrary and unbearable, irritated 
men's minds to such a point, that the people mur- 
mured in secret and the nobles proclaimed aloud 
their discontent. Andre's soldiers indulged in a 
libertinage which would have been intolerable in 
a conquered city: they were found everywhere 
brawling in the taverns or rolling about disgust- 
ingly drunk in the gutters ; and the prince, far from 
rebuking such orgies, was accused of sharing them 
himself. His former tutor, who ought to have felt 
bound to drag him away from so ignoble a mode of 
life, rather strove to immerse him in degrading 
pleasures, so as to keep him out of business matters; 



without suspecting it, he was hurrying on the de- 
nouement of the terrible drama that was being acted 
behind the scenes at Castel Nuovo. Robert's 
widow, Dona Sancha of Aragon, the good and 
sainted lady whom our readers may possibly have 
forgotten, as her family had done, seeing that God's 
anger was hanging over her house, and that no 
counsels, no tears or prayers of hers could avail to 
arrest it, after wearing mourning for her husband 
one whole year, according to her promise, had taken 
the veil at the convent of Santa Maria della Croce, 
and deserted the court and its follies and passions, 
just as the prophets of old, turning their back on 
some accursed city, would shake the dust from off 
their sandals and depart. Sancha's retreat was a 
sad omen, and soon the family dissensions, long 
with difficulty suppressed, sprang forth to open 
view ; the storm that had been threateninof from afar 
broke suddenly over the town, and the thunderbolt 
was shortly to follow. 

On the last day of August 1344, Joan rendered 
homage to Americ, Cardinal of Saint Martin and 
legate of Clement vi, who looked upon the kingdom 
of Naples as being a fief of the Church ever since 
the time when his predecessors had presented it to 
Charles of Anjou, and overthrown and excommuni- 
cated the house of Suabia. For this solemn cere- 
mony the church of Saint Clara was chosen, the 

1849 Duiuas— \ul. U— C 


burial-place of Neapolitan kings, and but lately the 
tomb of the grandfather and father of the young 
queen, who reposed to right and left of the high 
altar. Joan, clad in the royal robe, with the crown 
upon her head, uttered her oath of fidelity between 
the hands of the apostolic legate in the presence of 
her husband, who stood behind her simply as a wit- 
ness, just like the other princes of the blood. 
Among the prelates with their pontifical insignia 
who formed the brilliant following of the envoy, 
there stood the Archbishops of Pisa, Bari, Capua, 
and Brindisi, and the reverend fathers Ugolino, 
Bishop of Castella, and Philip, Bishop of Cavaillon, 
chancellor to the queen. All the nobility of Naples 
and Hungary were present at this ceremony, which 
debarred Andre from the throne in a fashion at once 
formal and striking. Thus, when they left the 
church the excited feelings of both parties made a 
crisis imminent, and such hostile glances, such 
threatening words were exchanged, that the prince, 
finding himself too weak to contend against his 
enemies, wrote the same evening to his mother, tell- 
ing her that he was about to leave a country where 
from his infancy upwards he had experienced noth- 
ing but deceit and disaster. 

Those who know a mother's heart will easily 
guess that Elizabeth of Poland was no sooner aware 
of the danger that threatened her son than she trav- 



elled to Naples, arriving there before her coming 
was suspected. Rumour spread abroad that the 
Queen of Hungary had come to take her son away 
with her, and the unexpected event gave rise to 
strange comments: the fever of excitement now 
blazed up in another direction. The Empress of 
Constantinople, the Catanese, her two daughters, 
and all the courtiers, whose calculations were upset 
by Andre's departure, hurried to honour the arrival 
of the Queen of Hungary by offering a very cordial 
and respectful reception, with a view to showing her 
that, in the midst of a court so attentive and de- 
voted, any isolation or bitterness of feeling on the 
young prince's part must spring from his pride, 
from an unwarrantable mistrust, and his naturally 
savage and untrained character. Joan received her 
husband's mother with so much proper dignity in 
her behaviour that, in spite of preconceived notions, 
Elizabeth could not help admiring the noble serious- 
ness and earnest feeling she saw in her daughter- 
in-law. To make the visit more pleasant to an hon- 
oured guest, fetes and tournaments were given, the 
barons vying with one another in display of wealth 
and luxury. The Empress of Constantinople, the 
Catanese, Charles of Duras and his young wife, all 
paid the utmost attention to the mother of the 
prince. Marie, who by reason of her extreme youth 
and gentleness of character had no share in any 



intrigues, was guided quite as much by her natural 
feehng as by her husband's orders when she offered 
to the Queen of Hungary those marks of regard 
and affection that she might have felt for her own 
mother. In spite, however, of these protestations 
of respect and love, Elizabeth of Poland trembled 
for her son, and, obeying a maternal instinct, chose 
to abide by her original intention, believing that she 
should never feel safe until Andre was far away 
from a court in appearance so friendly but in reality 
so treacherous. The person who seemed most dis- 
turbed by the departure, and tried to hinder it by 
every means in his power, was Friar Robert. Im- 
mersed in his political schemes, bending over his 
mysterious plans with all the eagerness of a gambler 
who is on the point of gaining, the Dominican, who 
thought himself on the eve of a tremendous event, 
who by cunning, patience, and labour hoped to scat- 
ter his enemies and to reign as absolute autocrat, 
now falling suddenly from the edifice of his dream, 
stiffened himself by a mighty effort to stand and 
resist the mother of his pupil. But fear cried too 
loud in the heart of Elizabeth for all the reasonings 
of the monk to lull it to rest : to every argument he 
advanced she simply said that while her son was not 
king and had not entire unlimited power, it was 
imprudent to leave him exposed to his enemies. The 
monk, seeing that all was indeed lost and that he 



could not contend against the fears of this woman, 
asked only the boon of three days' grace, at the end 
of which time, should a reply he was expecting have 
not arrived, he said he would not only give up his 
opposition to Andre's departure, but would follow 
himself, renouncing for ever a scheme to which he 
had sacrificed everything. 

Towards the end of the third day, as Elizabeth 
was definitely making her preparations for depart- 
ure, the monk entered radiant. Showing her a let- 
ter which he had just hastily broken open, he cried 
triumphantly — 

" God be praised, madam ! I can at last give you 
incontestable proofs of my active zeal and accurate 

Andre's mother, after rapidly running through 
the document, turned her eyes on the monk with 
yet some traces of mistrust in her manner, not ven- 
turing to give way to her sudden joy. 

" Yes, madam," said the monk, raising his head, . 
his plain features lighted up by his glance of intelli- 
gence — " yes, madam, you will believe your eyes, 
perhaps, though you would never believe my words : 
this is not the dream of an active imagination, the 
hallucination of a credulous mind, the prejudice of a 
limited intellect ; it is a plan slowly conceived, pain- 
fully worked out, my daily thought and my whole 
life's work. I have never ignored the fact that at 



the court of Avignon your son had powerful ene- 
mies ; but I knew also that on the very day I under- 
took a certain solemn engagement in the prince's 
name, an engagement to withdraw those laws that 
had caused coldness between the pope and Robert, 
who was in general so devoted to the Church, I 
knew very well that my offer v^ould never be re- 
jected, and this argument of mine I kept back for the 
last. See, madam, my calculations are correct; 
your enemies are put to shame and your son is 

Then turning to Andre, who was just coming in 
and stood dumbfounded at the threshold on hear- 
ing the last words, he added — 

" Come, my son, our prayers are at last fulfilled : 
you are king." 

" King ! " repeated Andre, transfixed with joy, 
doubt, and amazement. 

"King of Sicily and Jerusalem: yes, my lord; 
there is no need for you to read this document that 
brings the joyful, unexpected news. You can see 
it in your mother's tears ; she holds out her arms to 
press you to her bosom ; you can see it in the happi- 
ness of your old teacher; he falls on his knees at 
your feet to salute you by this title, which he would 
have paid for with his own blood had it been denied 
to you much longer." 

" And yet," said Elizabeth, after a moment's 


mournful reflection, " if I obey my presentiments, 
your news will make no difference to our plans for 

" Nay, mother," said Andre firmly, " you would 
not force me to quit the country to the detriment 
of my honour. If I have made you feel some of the 
bitterness and sorrow that have spoiled my own 
young days because of my cowardly enemies, it is 
not from a poor spirit, but because I was powerless, 
and knew it, to take any sort of striking vengeance 
for their secret insults, their crafty injuries, their 
underhand intrigues. It was not because my arm 
wanted strength, but because my head wanted a 
crown. I might have put an end to some of these 
wretched beings, the least dangerous maybe; but it 
would have been striking in the dark; the ring- 
leaders would have escaped, and I should never have 
really got to the bottom of their infernal plots. So 
I have silently eaten out my own heart in shame and 
indignation. Now that my sacred rights are recog- 
nised by the Church, you will see, my mother, how 
these terrible barons, the queen's counsellors, the 
governors of the kingdom, will lower their heads 
in the dust : for they are threatened with no sword 
and no struggle ; no peer of their own is he who 
speaks, but the king ; it is by him they are accused, 
by the law they shall be condemned, and shall suffer 
on the scaffold." 



" O my beloved son," cried the queen in tears, " I 
never doubted your noble feelings or the justice of 
your claims; but when your life is in danger, to 
what voice can I listen but the voice of fear? what 
can move my counsels but the promptings of love? " 

" Mother, believe me, if the hands and hearts 
alike of these cowards had not trembled, you would 
have lost your son long ago." 

" It is not violence that I fear, my son, it is 

" My life, like every man's, belongs to God, and 
the lowest of sbirri may take it as I turn the corner 
of the street; but a king owes something to his 

The poor mother long tried to bend the reso- 
lution of Andre by reason and entreaties; but when 
she had spoken her last word and shed her last tear, 
she summoned Bertram de Baux, chief-justice of 
the kingdom, and Marie, Duchess of Durazzo. 
Trusting in the old man's wisdom and the girl's 
innocence, she commended her son to them in the 
tenderest and most affecting words ; then drawing 
from her own hand a ring richly wrought, and tak- 
ing the prince aside, she slipped it upon his finger, 
saying in a voice that trembled with emotion as she 
pressed him to her heart — 

" My son, as you refuse to come with me, here 
is a wonderful talisman, which I would not use be- 



fore the last extremity. So long as you wear this 
ring on your finger, neither sword nor poison will 
have power against you." 

" You see then, mother," said the prince, smiling, 
" with this protection there is no reason at all to 
fear for my life.'' 

There are other dangers than sword or poison." 
sighed the queen. 

"Be calm, mother: the best of all talismans is 
your prayer to God for me : it is the tender thought 
of you that will keep me for ever in the path of 
duty and justice ; your maternal love will watch 
over me from afar, and cover me like the wings 
of a guardian angel." 

Elizabeth sobbed as she embraced her son, and 
when she left him she felt her heart was breaking. 
At last she made up her mind to go, and was es- 
corted by the whole court, who had never changed 
towards her for a moment in their chivalrous and 
respectful devotion. The poor mother, pale, trem- 
bling, and faint, leaned heavily upon Andre's arm, 
lest she should fall. On the ship that was to take 
her for ever from her son, she cast her arms for the 
last time about his neck, and there hung a long time, 
speechless, tearless, and motionless ; when the signal 
for departure was given, her women took her in 
their arms half swooning. Andre stood on the 
shore with the feeling of death at his heart : his 



eyes were fixed upon the sail that carried ever far- 
ther from him the only being he loved in the world. 
Suddenly he fancied he beheld something white 
moving a long way off: his mother had recovered 
her senses by a great effort, and had dragged herself 
up to the bridge to give a last signal of farewell: 
the unhappy lady knew too well that she would 
never see her son again. 

At almost the same moment that Andre's mother 
left the kingdom, the former queen of Naples, Rob- 
ert's widow, Dofia Sancha, breathed her last sigh. 
She was buried in the convent of Santa Maria della 
Croce, under the name of Clara, which she had 
assumed on taking her vows as a nun, as her epi- 
taph tells us, as follows: — 

" Here lies, an example of great humility, the 
body of the sainted sister Clara, of illustrious mem- 
ory, otherwise Sancha, Queen of Sicily and Jeru- 
salem, widow of the most serene Robert, King of 
Jerusalem and Sicily, who, after the death of the 
king her husband, when she had completed a year 
of widowhood, exchanged goods temporary for 
goods eternal. Adopting for the love of God a 
voluntary poverty, and distributing her goods to the 
poor, she took upon her the rule of obedience in this 
celebrated convent of Santa Croce, the work of her 
own hands, in the year 1344, on the 21st of Janu- 
ary of the twelfth indiction, where, living a life of 



holiness under the rule of the blessed Francis, father 
of the poor, she ended her days religiously in the 
year of our Lord 1345, on the 28th of July of the 
thirteenth indiction. On the day following she was 
buried in this tomb." 

The death of Dona Sancha served to hasten on 
the catastrophe which was to stain the throne of 
Naples with blood : one might almost fancy that 
God wished to spare this angel of love and resigna- 
tion the sight of so terrible a spectacle; that she of- 
fered herself as a propitiatory sacrifice to redeem 
the crimes of her family. 



EIGHT days after the funeral of the old queen, 
Bertrand of Artois came to Joan, distraught, 
dishevelled, in a state of agitation and confusion 
impossible to describe. 

Joan went quickly up to her lover, asking him with 
a look of fear to explain the cause of his distress, 

" I told you, madam," cried the young baron ex- 
citedly, " you will end by ruining us all, as you will 
never take any advice from me." 

" For God's sake, Bertrand, speak plainly : what 
has happened ? What advice have I neglected ?" 

" Madam, your noble husband, Andre of Hun- 
gary, has just been made King of Jerusalem and 
Sicily, and acknowledged by the court of Avignon, 
so henceforth you will be no better than his slave." 

" Count of Artois, you are dreaming." 

" No, madam, I am not dreaming : I have this 
fact to prove the truth of my words, that the pope's 
ambassadors are arrived at Capua with the bull for 
his coronation, and if they do not enter Castel Nu- 
ovo this very evening, the delay is only to give the 
new king time to make his preparations." 



The queen bent her head as if a thunderbolt had 

fallen at her feet. 

" When I told you before," said the count, with 
growing fury, " that we ought to use force to make 
a stand against him, that we ought to break the 
yoke of this infamous tyranny and get rid of the 
man before he had the means of hurting you, you 
always drew back in childish fear, with a woman's 
cowardly hesitation." 

Joan turned a tearful look upon her lover. 

" God, my God !" she cried, clasping her hands in 
desperation, " am I to hear for ever this awful cry 
of death ! You too, Bertrand, you too say the word, 
like Robert' of Cabane, hke Charles of Duras? 
Wretched man, why would you raise this bloody 
spectre between us, to check with icy hand our 
adulterous kisses? Enough of such crimes; if his 
wretched ambition makes him long to reign, let 
him be king: what matters his power to me, if he 
leaves me with your love? " 

" It is not so sure that our love will last much 

'■' What is this, Bertrand? You rejoice in this 
Ifterciless torture," 

" I tell you, madam, that the King of Naples has 
a black flag ready, and on the day of his coronation 
it will be carried before him." 

" And you believe," said Joan, pale as a corpse 


in its shroud, — " you believe that this flag is a 

" Ay, and the threat begins to be put in execu- 

The queen staggered, and leaned against a table 
to save herself from falling. 

" Tell me all," she cried in a choking voice ; " fear 
not to shock me; see, I am not trembling. O Ber- 
trand, I entreat you!" 

" The traitors have begun with the man you most 
esteemed, the wisest counsellor of the crown, the 
best of magistrates, the noblest-hearted, most rigid- 
ly virtuous " 

" Andrea of Isernia !'* 

" Madam, he is no more." 

Joan uttered a cry, as though the noble old man 
had been slain before her eyes : she respected him 
as a father; then, sinking back, she remained pro- 
foundly silent. 

" How did they kill him?" she asked at last, fix- 
ing her great eyes in terror on the count. 

" Yesterday evening, as he left this castle, on the 
way to his own home, a man suddenly sprang out 
upon him before the Porta Petruccia: it was one of 
Andre's favourites, Conrad of Gottis chosen no 
doubt because he had a grievance against the incor- 
ruptible magistrate on account of some sentence 
passed against him, and the murder would there- 



fore be put down to motives of private revenge. 
The cowardly wretch gave a sign to two or three 
companions, who surrounded the victim and robbed 
him of all means of escape. The poor old man 
looked fixedly at his assassin, and asked him what 
he wanted. * I want you to lose your life at my 
hands, as I lost my case at yours ! ' cried the mur- 
derer; and leaving him no time to answer, he ran 
him through with his sword. Then the rest fell up- 
on the poor man, who did not even try to call for 
help, and his body was riddled with wounds and 
horribly mutilated, and then left bathed in its blood." 

" Terrible !" murmured the queen, covering her 

" It was only their first effort : the proscription 
lists are already full : Andre must needs have blood 
to celebrate his accession to the throne of Naples. 
And do you know, Joan, whose name stands first 
in the doomed list?" 

"Whose?" cried the queen, shuddering from 
head to foot. 

" Mine," said the count calmly. 

" Yours! " cried Joan, drawing herself up to her 
full height ; " are you to be killed next ! Oh, be 
careful, Andre; you have pronounced your own 
death-sentence. Long have I turned aside the dag- 
ger pointing to your breast, but you put an end to 
all my patience. Woe to you, Prince of Hungary! 



the blood which you have spilt shall fall on your 
own head." 

As she spoke she had lost her pallor : her lovely 
face was fired with revenge, her eyes flashed light- 
ning. This child of sixteen was terrible to behold: 
she pressed her lover's hand with convulsive tender- 
ness, and clung to him as if she would screen him 
with her own body. 

" Your anger is awakened too late," said he 
gently and sadly; for at this moment Joan seemed 
so lovely that he could reproach her with nothing. 
" You do not know that his mother has left him a 
talisman preserving him from sword and poison? " 

"He will die," said Joan firmly: the smile that 
lighted up her face was so unnatural that the count 
was dismayed, and dropped his eyes. 

The next day the young Queen of Naples, lovelier, 
more smiling than ever, sitting carelessly in a grace- 
ful attitude beside a window which looked out on 
the magnificent view of the bay, was busy weaving 
a cord of silk and gold. The sun had run nearly 
two-thirds of his fiery course, and was gradually 
sinking his rays in the clear blue waters where 
Posilippo's head is reflected with its green and flow- 
ery crown. A warm, balmy breeze that had passed 
over the orange trees of Sorrento and Amalfi felt 
deliciously refreshing to the inhabitants of the cap- 
ital, who had succumbed to torpor in the enervating 



softness of the day. The whole town was waking 
from a long siesta, breathing freely after a sleepy 
interval: the Molo was covered with a crowd of 
eager people dressed out in the brightest colours; 
the many cries of a festival, joyous songs, love dit- 
ties sounded from all quarters of the vast amphi- 
theatre, which is one of the chief marvels of crea- 
tion : they came to the ears of Joan, and she listened 
as she bent over her work, absorbed in deep thought. 
Suddenly, when she seemed most busily occupied, 
the indefinable feeling of someone near at hand, and 
the touch of something on her shoulder, made her 
start : she turned as though waked from a dream by 
contact with a serpent, and perceived her husband, 
magnificently dressed, carelessly leaning against the 
back of her chair. For a long time past the prince 
had not come to his wife in this familiar fashion, 
and to the queen the pretence of affection and care- 
less behaviour augured ill. Andre did not appear 
to notice the look of hatred and terror that had 
escaped Joan in spite of herself, and assuming the 
best expression of gentleness as that his straight 
hard features could contrive to put on in such 
circumstances as these, he smilingly asked — 

" Why are you making this pretty cord, dear 
dutiful wife? " 

" To hang you with, my lord," replied the queen, 
with a smile. 



Andre shrugged his shoulders, seeing in the threat 
so incredibly rash nothing more than a pleasantry 
in rather bad taste. But when he saw that Joan 
resumed her work, he tried to renew the con- 

" I admit," he said, in a perfectly calm voice, 
** that my question is quite unnecessary : from your 
eagerness to finish this handsome piece of work, I 
ought to suspect that it is destined for some fine 
knight of yours whom you propose to send on a 
dangerous enterprise wearing your colours. If so, 
my fair queen, I claim to receive my orders from 
your lips: appoint the time and place for the trial, 
and I am sure beforehand of carrying off a prize 
that I shall dispute with all your adorers." 

" That is not so certain," said Joan, " if you are 
as valiant in war as in love." And she cast on 
her husband a look at once seductive and scornful, 
beneath which the young man blushed up to his eyes. 

" I hope," said Andre, repressing his feelings, — 
*' I hope soon to give you such proofs of my affec- 
tion that you will never doubt it again." 

" And what makes you fancy that, my lord ? " 

" I would tell you, if you would listen seriously.*' 

" I am listening." 

" Well, it is a dream I had last night that gives 
me such confidence in the future." 

" A dream ! You surely ought to explain that." 


" I dreamed that there was a grand fete in the 
town: an immense crowd filled the streets like an 
overflowing torrent, and the heavens were ringing 
with their shouts of joy ; the gloomy granite f agades 
were hidden by hangings of silk and festoons of 
flowers, the churches were decorated as though for 
some grand ceremony. I was riding side by side 
with you." Joan made a haughty movement. 
" Forgive me, madam, it was only a dream : I was 
on your right, riding a fine white horse, magnifi- 
cently caparisoned, and the chief-justice of the king- 
dom carried before me a flag unfolded in sign of 
honour. After riding in triumph through the main 
thoroughfares of the city, we arrived, to the sound 
of trumpets and clarions, at the royal church of 
Saint Clara, where your grandfather and my uncle 
are buried, and there, before the high altar, the 
pope's ambassador laid your hand in mine and pro- 
nounced a long discourse, and then on our two heads 
in turn placed the crown of Jerusalem and Sicily; 
after which the nobles and the people shouted in 
one voice, * Long live the King and Queen of 
Naples ! ' And I, wishing to perpetuate the memory 
of so glorious a day, proceeded to create knights 
among the most zealous in our court." 

" And do you not remember the names of the 
chosen persons whom you judged worthy of your 
royal favours ? " 



Assuredly, madam: Bertrand, Count of Ar- 


" Enough, my lord ; I excuse you from naming 
the rest: I always supposed you were loyal and 
generous, but you give me fresh proof of it by 
showing favour to men whom I most honour and 
trust. I cannot tell if your wishes are likely soon 
to be realised, but in any case feel sure of my per- 
petual gratitude." 

Joan's voice did not betray the slightest emotion ; 
her look had become kind, and the sweetest smile 
was on her lips. But in her heart Andre's death 
was from that moment decided upon. The prince, 
too much preoccupied with his own projects of ven- 
geance, and too confident in his all-powerful talis- 
man and his personal valour, had no suspicion that 
his plans could be anticipated. He conversed a long 
time with his wife in a chatting, friendly way, try- 
ing to spy out her secret, and exposing his own by 
his interrupted phrases and mysterious reserves. 
When he fancied that every cloud of former resent- 
ment, even the lightest, had disappeared from Joan's 
brow, he begged her to go with her suite on a mag- 
nificent hunting expedition that he was organising 
for the 20th of August, adding that such a kindness 
on her part would be for him a sure pledge of their 
reconciliation and complete forgetfulness of the 
past. Joan promised with a charming grace, and 



the prince retired fully satisfied with the interview, 
carrying with him the conviction that he had 
only to threaten to strike a blow at the queen's 
favourite to ensure her obedience, perhaps even her 

But on the eve of the 20th of August a strange 
and terrible scene was being enacted in the base- 
ment storey of one of the lateral towers of Castel 
Nuovo. Charles of Durazzo, who had never ceased 
to brood secretly over his infernal plans, had been 
informed by the notary whom he had charged to 
spy upon the conspirators, that on that particular 
evening they were about to hold a decisive meeting, 
and therefore, wrapped in a black cloak, he glided 
into the underground corridor and hid himself be- 
hind a pillar, there to await the issue of the confer- 
ence. After two dreadful hours of suspense, every 
second marked out by the beating of his heart, 
Charles fancied he heard the sound of a door very 
carefully opened; the feeble ray of a lantern in the 
vault scarcely served to dispel the darkness, but a 
man coming away from the wall approached him 
walking like a living statue. Charles gave a slight 
cough, the sign agreed upon. The man put out his 
light and hid away the dagger he had drawn in case 
of a surprise. 

" Is it you, Master Nicholas ? " asked the duke 
in a low voice. 



"It is I, my lord." 

"What is it?" 

" They have just fixed the prince's death for to* 
morrow, on his way to the hunt." 

" Did you recognise every conspirator? " 

" Every one, though their faces were masked ; 
when they gave their vote for death, I knew them 
by their voices." 

" Could you point out to me who they are ? " 

" Yes, this very minute ; they are going to pass 
along at the end of this corridor. And see, here is 
Tommaso Pace walking in front of them to light 
their way." 

Indeed, a tall spectral figure, black from head to 
foot, his face carefully hidden under a velvet mask, 
walked at the end of the corridor, lamp in hand, 
and stopped at the first step of a staircase which led 
to the upper floors. The conspirators advanced 
slowly, two by two, like a procession of ghosts, 
appeared for one moment in the circle of light 
made by the torch, and again disappeared into 

" See, there are Charles and Bertrand of Artois," 
said the notary; "there are the Counts of Terlizzi 
and Catanzaro ; the grand admiral and grand senes- 
chal, Godfrey of Marsan, Count of Squillace, and 
Robert of Cabane, Count of Eboli ; the two women 
talking in a low voice with the eager gesticulations 



are Catherine of Tarentum, Empress of Constan- 
tinople, and Philippa the Catanese, the queen's gov- 
erness and chief lady; there is Doiia Cancha, cham- 
berwoman and confidante of Joan ; and there is the 
Countess of Morcone " 

The notary stopped on beholding a shadow 
alone, its head bowed, with arms hanging loosely, 
chokingf back her sobs beneath a hood of black. 

" Who is the woman who seems to drag herself 
so painfully along in their train? " asked the duke, 
pressing his companion's arm. 

" That woman," said the notary, " is the queen." 

" Ah, now I see," thought Charles, breathing 
freely, with the same sort of satisfaction that Satan 
no doubt feels when a long coveted soul falls at 
length into his power. 

" And now, my lord," continued Master Nicholas, 
when all had returned once more into silence and 
darkness, " if you have bidden me spy on these con- 
spirators with a view to saving the young prince 
you are protecting with love and vigilance, you 
must hurry forward, for to-morrow maybe it will 
be too late." 

" Follow me," cried the duke imperiously ; " it 
is time you should know my real intention, and then 
carry out my orders with scrupulous exactness." 

With these words he drew him aside to a place 
opposite to where the conspirators had just dis- 



appeared. The notary mechanically followed 
through a labyrindi of dark corridors and secret 
staircases, quite at a loss how to account for the 
sudden change that had come over his master: 
crossing one of the ante-chambers in the castle, they 
came upon Andre, who joyfully accosted them; 
grasping the hand of his cousin Duras in his affec- 
tionate manner, he asked him in a pressing way that 
would brook no refusal, " Will you be of our hunt- 
ing party to-morrow, duke? " 

" Excuse me, my lord," said Charles, bowing 
down to the ground ; " it will be impossible for me 
to go to-morrow, for my wife is very unwell; but I 
entreat you to accept the best falcon I have." 

And here he cast upon the notary a petrifying 

The morning of the 20th of August was fine and 
calm — the irony of nature contrasting cruelly with 
the fate of mankind. From break of day masters 
and valets, pages and knights, princes and courtiers, 
all were on foot; cries of joy v;ere heard on every 
side when the queen arrived, on a snow-white horse, 
at the head of the young and brilliant throng. Joan 
was perhaps paler than usual, but that might be 
because she had been obliged to rise very early. 
Andre, mounted on one of tlie most fiery of all the 
steeds he had tamed, galloped beside his v/ife, noble 
and proud, happy in his own powers, his youth, and 



the thousand gilded hopes that a brilliant future 
seemed to offer. Never had the court of Naples 
shown so brave an aspect : every feeling of distrust 
and hatred seemed entirely forgotten ; Friar Robert 
himself, suspicious as he was by nature, when he 
saw the joyous cavalcade go by under his window, 
looked out with pride, and stroking his beard, 
laughed at his own seriousness. 

Andre's intention was to spend several days hunt- 
ing between Capua and Aversa, and only to return 
to Naples when all was in readiness for his corona- 
tion. Thus the first day they hunted round about 
Melito, and went through two or three villages in 
the land of Lahore. Towards evening the court 
stopped at Aversa, with a view to passing the night 
there, and since at that period there was no castle 
in the place worthy of entertaining the queen with 
her husband and numerous court, the convent of 
St. Peter's at Majella was converted into a royal 
residence : this convent had been built by Charles ii 
in the year of our Lord 1309. 

While the grand seneschal was giving orders for 
supper and the preparation of a room for Andre 
and his wife, the prince, who during the whole day 
had abandoned himself entirely to his favourite 
amusement, went up on the terrace to enjoy the 
evening air, accompanied by the good Isolda, his 
beloved nurse, who loved him more even than his 



mother, and would not leave his side for a moment. 
Never had the prince appeared so animated and 
happy: he was in ecstasies over the beauty of the 
country, the clear air, the scent of the trees around ; 
he besieged his nurse with a thousand queries, never 
waiting for an answer; and they were indeed long 
in coming, for poor Isolda was gazing upon him 
with that appearance of fascination which makes 
a mother absent-minded when her child is talking. 
Andre was eagerly telling her about a terrible boar 
he had chased that morning across the woods, how 
it had lain foaming at his feet, and Isolda inter- 
rupted him to say he had a grain of dust in his eye. 
Then Andre was full of his plans for the future, and 
Isolda stroked his fair hair, remarking that he must 
be feeling very tired. Then, heeding nothing but 
his own joy and excitement, the young prince hurled 
defiance at destiny, calling by all his gods on dangers 
to come forward, so that he might have the chance 
of quelling them, and the poor nurse exclaimed, 
in a flood of tears, " My child, you love me no 

Out of all patience with these constant interrup- 
tions, Andre scolded her kindly enough, and mocked 
at her childish fears. Then, paying no attention to 
a sort of melancholy that was coming over him, he 
bade her tell him old tales of his childhood, and 
had a long talk about his brother Louis, his absent 



mother, and tears were in his eyes when he recalled 
her last farewell. Isolda listened joyfully, and an- 
swered all he asked ; but no fell presentiment shook 
her heart: the poor woman loved Andre with aS 
the strength of her soul; for him she would have 
given up her life in this world and in the world to 
come; yet she was not his mother. 

When all was ready, Robert of Cabane came to 
tell the prince that the queen awaited him; Andre 
cast one last look at the smiling fields beneath the 
starry heavens, pressed his nurse's hand to his lips 
and to his heart, and followed the grand seneschal 
slowly and, it seemed, with some regret. But soon 
the brilliant lights of the room, the wine that cir- 
culated freely, the gay talk, the eager recitals of 
that day's exploits, served to disperse the cloud of 
gloom that had for a moment overspread the coun- 
tenance of the prince. The queen alone, leaning on 
the table, with fixed eyes and lips that never moved, 
sat at this strange feast pale and cold as a baleful 
ghost summoned from the tomb to disturb the joy 
of the party. Andre, whose brain began to be af- 
fected by the draughts of wine from Capri and 
Syracuse, was annoyed at his wife's look, and at- 
tributing it to contempt, filled a goblet to the brim 
and presented it to the queen. Joan visibly trem- 
bled, her lips moved convulsively; but the conspira- 
tors drowned in their noisy talk the involuntary 



groan that escaped her. In the midst of a general 
uproar, Robert of Cabane proposed that they should 
serve generous supplies of the same wine drunk at 
the royal table to the Hungarian guards who were 
keeping watch at the approaches to the convent, and 
this liberality evoked frenzied applause. The shout- 
ing of the soldiers soon gave witness to their grati- 
tude for the unexpected gift, and mingled with the 
hilarious toasts of the banqueters. To put the fin- 
ishing touch to Andre's excitement, there were cries 
on every side of " Long live the Queen! Long live 
His Majesty the King of Naples ! " 

The orgy lasted far into the night: the pleasures 
of the next day were discussed with enthusiasm, and 
Bertrand of Artois protested in a loud voice that 
if they were so late now some would not rise early 
on the morrow. Andre declared that, for his part, 
an hour or two's rest would be enough to get over 
his fatigue, and he eagerly protested that it would 
be well for others to follow his example. The Count 
of Terlizzi seemed to express some doubt as to the 
prince's punctuality. Andre insisted, and challeng- 
ing all the barons present to see who would be up 
first, he retired with the queen to the room that hnd 
been reserved for them, where he very soon fell into 
a deep and heavy sleep. About two o'clock in the 
morning, Tommaso Pace, the prince's valet and 
first usher of the royal apartments, knocked at his 



master's door to rouse him for the chase. At the 
first knock, all was silence; at the second, Joan, 
who had not closed her eyes all night, moved as if 
to rouse her hushand and warn him of the threat- 
ened danger; but at the third knock the unfortunate 
young man suddenly awoke, and hearing in the next 
room sounds of laughter and whispering, fancied 
that they were making a joke of his laziness, and 
jumped out of bed bareheaded, in nothing but his 
shirt, his shoes half on and half off. He opened the 
door; and at this point we translate literally the 
account of Domenico Gravina, a historian of much 
esteem. As soon as che prince appeared, the con- 
spirators all at once fell upon him, to strangle him 
with their hands; believing he could not die by 
poison or sword, because of the charmed ring given 
him by his poor mother. But Andre was so strong 
and active, that when he perceived the infamous 
treason he defended himself with more than human 
strength, and with dreadful cries got free from his 
murderers, his face all bloody, his fair hair pulled 
out in handfuls. The unhappy young man tried to 
gain his own bedroom, so as to get some weapon 
and valiantly resist the assassins ; but as he reached 
the door, Nicholas of Melazzo, putting his dagger 
like a bolt into the lock, stopped his entrance. The 
prince, calling aloud the whole time and imploring 
the protection of his friends, returned to the hall; 



but all the doors were shut, and no one held out a 
helping hand ; for the queen was silent, showing no 
uneasiness about her husband's death. 

But the nurse Isolda, terrified by the shouting of 
her beloved son and lord, leapt from her bed and 
went to the window, filling the house with dreadful 
cries. The traitors, alarmed by the mighty uproar, 
although the place was lonely and so far from the 
centre of the town that nobody could have come to 
see what the noise was, were on the point of letting 
their victim go, when Bertrand of Artois, who felt 
he was more guilty than the others, seized the prince 
with hellish fury round the waist, and after a des- 
perate struggle got him down ; then dragging him 
by the hair of his head to a balcony which gave 
upon the garden, and pressing one knee upon his 
chest, cried out to the others — 

" Come here, barons : I have what we want to 
strangle him with." 

And round his neck he passed a long cord of silk 
and gold, while the wretched man struggled all he 
could. Bertrand quickly drew up the knot, and the 
others threw the body over the parapet of the bal- 
cony, leaving it hanging between earth and sky 
until death ensued. When the Count of Terlizzi 
averted his eyes from the horrid spectacle, Robert 
of Cabane cried out imperiously — 

" What are you doing there ? The cord is long 


enough for us all to hold: we want not witnesses, 
we want accomplices! " 

As soon as the last convulsive movements of the 
dying man had ceased, they let the corpse drop the 
whole height of the three storeys, and opening the 
doors of the hall, departed as though nothing had 

Isolda, when at last she contrived to get a light, 
rapidly ran to the queen's chamber, and finding the 
door shut on the inside, began to call loudly on her 
Andre. There was no answer, though the queen 
was in the room. The poor nurse, distracted, 
trembling, desperate, ran down all the corridors, 
knocked at all the cells and woke the monks one 
by one, begging them to help her look for the 
prince. The monks said that they had indeed heard 
a noise, but thinking it was a quarrel between sol- 
diers drunken perhaps or mutinous, they had not 
thought it their business to interfere. Isolda eagerly 
entreated : the alarm spread through the convent ; 
the monks followed the nurse, who went on before 
with a torch. She entered the garden, saw some- 
thing white upon the grass, advanced trembling, 
gave one piercing cry, and fell backward. 

The wretched Andre was lying in his blood, a 
cord round his neck as though he were a thief, his 
head crushed in by the height from which he fell. 
Then two monks went upstairs to the queen's room, 



and respectfully knocking at the door, asked in 
sepulchral tones — 

" Madam, what would you have us do with your 
husband's corpse ? " 

And when the queen made no answer, they went 
down again slowly to the garden, and kneeling one 
at the head, the other at the foot of the dead man, 
they began to recite penitential psalms in a low 
voice. When they had spent an hour in prayer, two 
other monks went up in the same way to Joan's 
chamber, repeating the same question and getting 
no answer, whereupon they relieved the first two, 
and began themselves to pray. Next a third couple 
went to the door of this inexorable room, and com- 
ing away perturbed by their want of success, per- 
ceived that there was a disturbance of people out- 
side the convent, while vengeful cries were heard 
amongst the indignant crowd. The groups became 
more and more thronged, threatening voices were 
raised, a torrent of invaders threatened the royal 
dwelling, when the queen's guard appeared, lance 
in readiness, and a litter closely shut, surrounded 
by the principal barons of the court, passed through 
the crowd, which stood stupidly gazing. Joan, 
wrapped in a black veil, went back to Castel Nuovo, 
amid her escort ; and nobody, say the historians, had 
the courage to say a word about this terrible deed. 


'J"o hang you with, my lord," rejilicd the Queen, with a smile 

—p. 1865 
From the orh/hial illiitit ration by L, Botdanger 


THE terrible part that Charles of Durazzo was 
to play began as soon as this crime was 
accomplished. The duke left the corpse two whole 
days exposed to the wind and the rain, unburied 
and dishonoured, the corpse of a man whom the 
pope had made King of Sicily and Jerusalem, so that 
the indignation of the mob might be increased by 
the dreadful sight. On the third he ordered it to be 
conveyed with the utmost pomp to the cathedral of 
Naples, and assembling all the Hungarians around 
the catafalque, he thus addressed them, in a voice 
of thunder: — 

" Nobles and commoners, behold our king hanged 
like a dog by infamous traitors. God will soon 
make known to us the names of all the guilty : let 
those who desire that justice may be done hold up 
their hands and swear against murderers bloody 
persecution, implacable hatred, everlasting ven- 
geance ! " 

It was this one man's cry that brought death and 
desolation to the murderers' hearts, and the people 
dispersed about the town, shrieking, " Vengeance, 
vengeance ! " 

TftRi Duuius— Vul. U— D 


Divine justice, which knows naught of privilege 
and respects no crown, struck Joan first of all in 
her love. Wlien the two lovers first met, both were 
seized alike with terror and disgust; they recoiled 
trembling, the queen seeing in Bertrand her hus- 
band's executioner, and he in her the cause of his 
crime, possibly of his speedy punishment. Ber- 
trand's looks were disordered, his cheeks hollow, his 
eyes encircled with black rings, his mouth horribly 
distorted ; his arm and forefinger extended towards 
his accomplice, he seemed to behold a frightful 
vision rising before him. The same cord he had 
used when he strangled Andre, he now saw round 
the queen's neck, so tight that it made its way into 
her flesh: an invisible force, a Satanic impulse, 
urged him to strangle with his own hands the 
woman he had loved so dearly, had at one time 
adored on his knees. The count rushed out of 
the room with gestures of desperation, muttering 
incoherent words; and as he shewed plain signs of 
mental aberration, his father, Charles of Artois, 
took him away, and they went that same evening to 
their palace of St. Agatha, and there prepared a 
defence in case they should be attacked. 

But Joan's punishment, which was destined to be 
slow as well as dreadful, to last thirty-seven years 
and end in a ghastly death, was now only begin- 
ning. All the wretched beings who were stained 



with Andre's death came in turn to her to demand 
the price of blood. The Catanese and her son, who 
held in their hands not only the queen's honour but 
her life, now became doubly greedy and exacting. 
Dona Cancha no longer put any bridle on her licen- 
tiousness; and the Empress of Constantinople or- 
dered her niece to marry her eldest son, Robert, 
Prince of Tarentum. Joan, consumed by remorse, 
full of indignation and shame at the arrogant con- 
duct of her subjects, dared scarcely lift her head, 
and stooped to entreaties, only stipulating for a 
few days' delay before giving her answer: the 
empress consented, on condition that her son should 
come to reside at Castel Nuovo, with permission 
to see the queen once a day. Joan bowed her head 
in silence, and Robert of Tarentum was installed 
at the castle. 

Charles of Durazzo, who by the death of Andre 
had practically become the head of the family, and 
would, by the terms of his grandfather's will, in- 
herit the kingdom by right of his wife Marie in the 
case of Joan's dying without lawful issue, sent to 
the queen two commands : first, that she should not 
dream of contracting a new marriage without first 
consulting him in the choice of a husband ; secondly, 
that she should invest him at once with the title of 
Duke of Calabria. To compel his cousin to make 
these two concessions, he added that if she should 



be so ill advised as to refuse either of them, he 
should hand over to justice the proofs of the crime 
and the names of the murderers. Joan, bending 
beneath the weight of this new difficulty, could think 
of no way to avoid it ; but Catherine, who alone was 
stout enough to fight this nephew of hers, insisted 
that they must strike at the Duke of Durazzo in his 
ambition and hopes, and tell him, to begin with — 
what was the fact — that the queen was pregnant. 
If, in spite of this news, he persisted in his plans, 
she would find some means or other, she said, of 
causing trouble and discord in her nephew's family, 
and wounding him in his most intimate affections 
or closest interests, by publicly dishonouring him 
through his wife or his mother. 

Charles smiled coldly when his aunt came to tell 
him from the queen that she was about to bring into 
the world an infant, Andre's posthumous child. 
What importance could a babe yet unborn possibly 
have — as a fact, it lived only a few months — in the 
eyes of a man who with such admirable coolness 
got rid of people who stood in his way, and that 
moreover by the hand of his own enemies ? He told 
the empress that the happy news she had con- 
descended to bring him in person, far from dimin- 
ishing his kindness towards his cousin, inspired him 
rather with more interest and goodwill; that conse- 
quently he reiterated his suggestion, and renewed 



his promise not to seek vengeance for his dear An- 
dre, since in a certain sense the crime was not com- 
plete should a child be destined to survive; but in 
case of a refusal he declared himself inexorable. 
He cleverly gave Catherine to understand that, as 
she had some interest herself in the prince's death, 
she ought for her own sake to persuade the queen . 
to stop legal proceedings. 

The empress seemed to be deeply impressed by 
her nephew's threatening attitude, and promised to 
do her best to persuade the queen to grant all he 
asked, on condition, however, that Charles should 
allow the necessary time for carrying through so 
delicate a business. But Catherine profited by this 
delay to think out her own plan of revenge, and 
ensure the means of certain success. After start- 
ing several projects eagerly and then regretfully 
abandoning them, she fixed upon an infernal and 
unheard-of scheme, which the mind would refuse 
to believe but for the unanimous testimony of his- 
torians. Poor Agnes of Duras, Charles's mother, ,' 
had for some few days been suffering with an inex- 
plicable weariness, a slow painful malady with which 
her son's restlessness and violence may have had 
not a little to do. The empress resolved that the 
first effect of her hatred was to fall upon this un- 
happy mother. She summoned the Count of Ter- 
lizzi and Dona Cancha, his mistress, who by the 



queen's orders had been attending Agnes since her 
illness began, Catherine suggested to the young 
chamberwoman, who was at that time with child, 
that she should deceive the doctor by representing 
that certain signs of her own condition really be- 
longed to the sick woman, so that he, deceived by 
the false indications, should be compelled to admit 
to Charles of Durazzo that his mother was guilty 
and dishonoured. The Count of Terlizzi, who ever 
since he had taken part in the regicide trembled in 
fear of discovery, had nothing to oppose to the 
empress's desire, and Doiia Cancha, whose head was 
as light as her heart was corrupt, seized with a 
foolish gaiety on any chance of taking her revenge 
on the prudery of the only princess of the blood 
who led a pure life at a court that was renowned 
for its depravity. Once assured that her accom- 
plices would be prudent and obedient, Catherine 
began to spread abroad certain vague and dubious 
but terribly serious rumours, only needing proof, 
and soon after the cruel accusation was started it 
was repeated again and again in confidence, until it 
reached the ears of Charles. 

At this amazing revelation the duke was seized 
with a fit of trembling. He sent instantly for the 
doctor, and asked imperiously what was the cause 
of his mother's malady. The doctor turned pale 
and stammered; but when Charles grew threaten- 



ing he admitted that he had certain grounds for sus- 
pecting that the duchess was enceinte, but as he 
might easily have been deceived the first time, he 
would make a second investigation before pro- 
nouncing his opinion in so serious a matter. The 
next day, as the doctor came out of the bedroom, 
the duke met him, and interrogating him with an 
agonised gesture, could only judge by the silence 
that his fears were too well confirmed. But the 
doctor, with excess of caution, declared that he 
would make a third trial. Condemned criminals 
can suffer no worse than Charles in the long hours 
that passed before that fatal moment when he 
learned that his mother was indeed guilty. On the 
third day the doctor stated on his soul and con- 
science that Agnes of Durazzo was pregnant. 

" Very good," said Charles, dismissing the doc- 
tor with no sign of emotion. 

That evening the duchess took a medicine or- 
dered by the doctor; and when, half an hour later, 
she was assailed with violent pains, the duke was 
warned that perhaps other physicians ought to be 
consulted, as the prescription of the ordinary doc- 
tor, instead of bringing about an improvement in 
her state, had only made her worse. 

Charles slowly went up to the duchess's room, 
and sending away all the people who were standing 
round her bed, on the pretext that they were clumsy 



and made his mother worse, he shut the door, and 
they were alone. The poor Agnes, forgetting her 
internal agony when she saw her son, pressed his 
hand tenderly and smiled through her tears. 

Charles, pale beneath his bronzed complexion, his 
forehead moist with a cold sweat, and his eyes hor- 
ribly dilated, bent over the sick woman and asked 
her gloomily — 

" Are you a little better, mother? " 

" Ah, I am in pain, in frightful pain, my poor 
Charles. I feel as though I have molten lead in 
my veins. O my son, call your brothers, so that I 
may give you all my blessing for the last time, for 
I cannot hold out long against this pain. I am 
burning. Mercy ! Call a doctor : I know I have 
been poisoned." 

Charles did not stir from the bedside. 

"Water!" cried the dying woman in a broken 
voice, — "water! A doctor, a confessor! My chil- 
dren — I want my children! " 

And as the duke paid no heed, but stood moodily 
silent, the poor mother, prostrated by pain, fancied 
that grief had robbed her son of all power of speech 
or movement, and so, by a desperate effort, sat Up, 
and seizing him by the arm, cried with all the 
strength she could muster — 

"Charles, my son, what is it? My poor boy, 
courage; it is nothing, I hope. But quick, call for 



help, call a doctor. Ah, you have no idea of what 
I suffer." 

" Your doctor," said Charles slowly and coldly, 
each word piercing his mother's heart like a dagger, 
— " your doctor cannot come." 

" Oh why? " asked Agnes, stupefied. 

" Because no one ought to live who knows the 
secret of our shame," 

" Unhappy man ! " she cried, overwhelmed with 
pain and terror, " you have murdered him ! Per- 
haps you have poisoned your mother too ! Charles, 
Charles, have mercy on your own soul ! " 

" It is your doing," said Charles, without show 
of emotion: "you have driven me into crime and 
despair ; you have caused my dishonour in this world 
and my damnation in the next." 

" What are you saying? My own Charles, have 
mercy ! Do not let me die in this horrible uncer- 
tainty ; what fatal delusion is blinding you ? Speak, 
my son, speak: I am not feeling the poison now. 
What have I done ? Of what have I been accused ? " 

She looked with haggard eyes at her son : her 
maternal love still struggled against the awful 
thought of matricide; at last, seeing that Charles 
remained speechless in spite of her entreaties, she 
repeated, with a piercing cry — 

"Speak, in God's name, speak before I die!" 

" Mother, you are with child." 


" What ! " cried Agnes, with a loud cry, which 
broke her very heart. " O God, forgive him ! 
Charles, your mother forgives and blesses you in 

Charles fell upon her neck, desperately crying 
for help : he would now have gladly saved her at the 
cost of his life, but it was too late. He uttered one 
cry that came from his heart, and was found 
stretched out upon his mother's corpse. 

Strange comments were made at the court on the 
death of the Duchess of Durazzo and her doctor's 
disappearance; but there was no doubt at all that 
grief and gloom were furrowing wrinkles on 
Charles's brow, which was already sad enough. 
Catherine alone knew the terrible cause of her 
nephew's depression, for to her it was very plain 
that the duke at one blow had killed his mother and 
her physician. But she had never expected a reac- 
tion so sudden and violent in a man who shrank 
before no crime. She had thought Charles capable 
of everything except remorse. His gloomy, self- 
absorbed silence seemed a bad augury for her plans. 
She had desired to cause trouble for him in his own 
family, so that he might have no time to oppose the 
marriage of her son with the queen; but she had 
shot beyond her mark, and Charles, started thus on 
the terrible path of crime, had now broken through 
the bonds of his holiest afifections, and gave himself 



up to his bad passions with feverish ardour and a 
savage desire for revenge. Then Catherine had 
recourse to gentleness and submission. She gave 
her son to understand that there was only one way 
of obtaining the queen's hand, and that was by 
flattering the ambition of Charles and in some sort 
submitting himself to his patronage. Robert of 
Tarentum understood this, and ceased making court 
to Joan, who received his devotion with cool kind- 
ness, and attached himself closely to Charles, paying 
him much the same sort of respect and deference 
that he himself had affected for Andre, when the 
thought was first in his mind of causing his ruin. 
But the Duke of Durazzo was by no means deceived 
as to the devoted friendship shown towards him by 
the heir of the house of Tarentum, and pretending 
to be deeply touched by the unexpected change of 
feeling, he all the time kept a strict guard on Rob- 
ert's actions. 

An event outside all human foresight occurred to 
upset the calculations of the two cousins. One day 
while they were out together on horseback, as they 
often were since their pretended reconciliation, Louis 
of Tarentum, Robert's youngest brother, who had 
always felt for Joan a chivalrous, innocent love, — a 
love which a young man of twenty is apt to lock 
up in his heart as a secret treasure, — Louis, we say, 
who had held aloof from the infamous family con- 



spiracy and had not soiled his hands with Andre's 
blood, drawn on by an irrepressible passion, all at 
once appeared at the gates of Castel Nuovo ; and 
while his brother was wasting precious hours in 
asking for a promise of marriage, had the bridge 
raised and gave the soldiers strict orders to admit 
no one. Then, never troubling himself about 
Charles's anger or Robert's jealousy, he hurried to 
the queen's room, and there, says Domenico Gra- 
vina, without any preamble, the union was con- 

On returning from his ride, Robert, astonished 
that the bridge was not at once lowered for him, 
at first loudly called upon the soldiers on guard at 
the fortress, threatening severe punishment for 
their unpardonable negligence ; but as the gates did 
not open and the soldiers made no sign of fear or 
regret, he fell into a violent fit of rage, and swore 
he would hang the wretches like dogs for hinder- 
ing his return home. But the Empress of Constan- 
tinople, terrified at the bloody quarrel beginning be- 
tween the two brothers, went alone and on foot to 
her son, and making use of her maternal authority 
to beg him to master his feelings, there in the pres- 
ence of the crowd that had come up hastily to wit- 
ness the strange scene, she related in a low voice 
all that had passed in his absence. 

A roar as of a wounded tiger escaped from Rob- 


ert's breast : all but blind with rage, he nearly 
trampled his mother under the feet of his horse, 
which seemed to feel his master's anger, and plung- 
ing violently, breathed blood from his nostrils. 
When the prince had poured every possible execra- 
tion on his brother's head, he turned and galloped 
away from the accursed castle, flying to the Duke 
of Durazzo, whom he had only just left, to tell him 
of this outrage and stir him to revenge. Charles 
was talking carelessly with his young wife, who 
was but little used to such tranquil conversation and 
expansiveness, when the Prince of Tarentum, ex- 
hausted, out of breath, bathed in perspiration, came 
up with his incredible tale. Charles made him say 
it twice over, so impossible did Louis's audacious 
enterprise appear to him. Then quickly changing 
from doubt to fury, he struck his brow with his 
iron glove, saying that as the queen defied him he 
would make her tremble even in her castle and in 
her lover's arms. He threw one witheringr- look on 
Marie, who interceded tearfully for her sister, and 
pressing Robert's hand with warmth, vowed that 
so long as he lived Louis should never be Joan's 

That same evening he shut himself up in his 
study, and wrote letters whose effect soon appeared. 
A bull, dated June 2, 1346, was addressed to Ber- 
tram de Baux, chief-justice of the kingdom of 



Sicily and Count of Monte Scaglioso, with orders 
to make the most strict inquiries concerning An- 
dre's murderers, whom the pope hkewise laid under 
his anathema, and to punish them with the utmost 
rigour of the law. But a secret note was appended 
to the bull which was quite at variance with the 
designs of Charles : the sovereign pontiff expressly 
bade the chief-justice not to implicate the queen in 
the proceedings or the princes of the blood, so as 
to avoid worse disturbances, reserving, as supreme 
head of the Church and lord of the kingdom, the 
right of judging them later on, as his wisdom might 

For this imposing trial Bertram de Baux made 
great preparations. A platform was erected in the 
great hall of tribunal, and all the officers of the 
crown and great state dignitaries, and all the chief 
barons, had a place behind the enclosure where the 
magistrates sat. Three days after Clement vi's 
bull had been published in the capital, the chief- 
justice was ready for a public examination of two 
accused persons. The two culprits who had first 
fallen into the hands of justice were, as one may 
easily suppose, those whose condition was least ex- 
alted, whose lives were least valuable, Tommaso 
Pace and Nicholas of Melazzo. They were led 
before the tribunal to be first of all tortured, as 
the custom was. As they approached the judges, 



the notary passing by Charles in the street had time 
to say in a low voice — 

" My lord, the time has come to give my life for 
you: I will do my duty; I commend my wife and 
children to you." 

Encouraged by a nod from his patron, he walked 
on firmly and deliberately. The chief-justice, after 
establishing the identity of the accused, gave them 
over to the executioner and his men to be tortured 
in the public square, so that their sufferings might 
serve as a show and an example to the crowd. But 
no sooner was Tommaso Pace tied to the rope, when 
to the great disappointment of all he declared that 
he would confess everything, and asked accordingly 
to be taken back before his judges. At these words, 
the Count of Terlizzi, who was following every 
movement of the two men with mortal anxiety, 
thought it was all over now with him and his accom- 
plices; and so, when Tommaso Pace was turning 
his steps towards the great hall, led by two guards, 
his hands tied behind his back, and followed by the 
notary, he contrived to take him into a secluded 
house, and squeezing his throat with great force, 
made him thus put his tongue out, whereupon he 
cut it off with a sharp razor. 

The yells of the poor wretch so cruelly mutilated 
fell on the ears of the Duke of Durazzo: he found 
his way into the room where the barbarous act had 



been committed just as the Count of Terlizzi was 
coming out, and approached the notary, who had 
been present at the dreadful spectacle and had not 
given the least sign of fear or emotion. Master 
Nicholas, thinking the same fate was in store for 
him, turned calmly to the duke, saying with a sad 
smile — 

" My lord, the precaution is useless ; there is no 
need for you to cut out my tongue, as the noble 
count has done to my poor companion. The last 
scrap of my flesh may be torn off without one word 
being dragged from my mouth. I have promised, 
my lord, and you have the life of my wife and the 
future of my children as guarantee for my word." 

" I do not ask for silence," said the duke sol- 
emnly ; *' you can free me from all my enemies at 
once, and I order you to denounce them at the 

The notary bowed his head with mournful resig- 
nation; then raising it in affright, made one step 
up to the duke and murmured in a choking voice — • 

" And the queen ? " 

" No one would believe you if you ventured to 
■ denounce her; but when the Catanese and her son, 
the Count of Terlizzi and his wife and her most 
intimate friends, have been accused by you, when 
they fail to endure the torture, and when they de- 
nounce her unanimously " 



" I see, my lord. You do not only want my 
life; you would have my soul too. Very well; once 
more I commend to you my children." 

With a deep sigh he walked up to the tribunal. 
The chief-justice asked Tommaso Pace the usual 
questions, and a shudder of horror passed through 
the assembly when they saw the poor wretch in 
desperation opening his mouth, which streamed 
with blood. But surprise and terror reached their 
height when Nicholas of Melazzo slowly and firmly 
gave a list of Andre's murderers, all except the 
queen and the princes of the blood, and went on to 
give all details of the assassination. 

Proceedings were at once taken for the arrest 
of the grand seneschal, Robert of Cabane, and the 
Counts of Terlizzi and Morcone, who were present 
and had not ventured to make any movement in self- 
defence. An hour later, Philippa, her two daugh- 
ters, and Dofia Cancha joined them in prison, after 
vainly imploring the queen's protection. Charles 
and Bertrand of Artois, shut up in their fortress of 
Saint Agatha, bade defiance to justice, and several 
others, among them the Counts of Meleto and Cat- 
anzaro, escaped by flight. 

As soon as Master Nicholas said he had nothing 
further to confess, and that he had spoken the whole 
truth and nothing but the truth, the chief-justice 
pronounced sentence amid a profound silence; and 



without delay Tommaso Pace and the notary were 
tied to the tails of two horses, dragged through the 
chief streets of the town, and hanged in the market- 

The other prisoners were thrown into a subter- 
ranean vault, to be questioned and put to the torture 
on the following day. In the evening, finding them- 
selves in the same dungeon, they reproached one 
another, each pretending he had been dragged into 
the crime by someone else. Then Doiia Cancha, 
whose strange character knew no inconsistencies, 
even face to face with death and torture, drowned 
with a great burst of laughter the lamentations of 
her companions, and joyously exclaimed — 

" Look here, friends, why these bitter recrim- 
inations — this ill-mannered raving? We have no 
excuses to make, and we are all equally guilty. I 
am the youngest of all, and not the ugliest, — by 
your leave, ladies, — but if I am condemned, at least 
I will die cheerfully. For I have never denied my- 
self any pleasure I could get in this world, and I 
can boast that much will be forgiven me, for I have 
loved much : of that you, gentlemen, know some- 
thing. You, bad old man," she continued to the 
Count of Terlizzi, " do you not remember lying by 
my side in the queen's ante-chamber? Come, no 
blushes before your noble family; confess, my lord, 
that I am v/ith child by your Excellency; and you 



know how we managed to make up the story of poor 
Agnes of Durazzo and her pregnancy — God rest 
her soul! For my part, I never supposed the joke 
would take such a serious turn all at once. You 
know all this and much more; spare your lamenta- 
tions, for, by my word, they are getting very tire- 
some: let us prepare to die joyously, as we have 

With these words she yawned slightly, and, lying 
down on the straw, fell into a deep sleep, and 
dreamed as happy dreams as she had ever dreamed 
in her life. 

On the morrow from break of day there was an 
immense crowd on the sea front. During the night 
an enormous palisade had been put up to keep the 
people away far enough for them to see the accused 
without hearing anything. Charles of Durazzo, at 
the head of a brilliant cortege of knights and pages, 
mounted on a magnificent horse, all in black, as a 
sign of mourning, waited near the enclosure. Fero- 
cious joy shone in his eyes as the accused made their 
way through the crowd, two by two, their wrists 
tied with ropes ; for the duke every minute expected 
to hear the queen's name spoken. But the chief- 
justice, a man of experience, had prevented indis- 
cretion of any kind by fixing a hook in the tongue 
of each one. The poor creatures were tortured 
on a ship, so that nobody should hear the ter- 



rible confessions their sufferings dragged from 

But Joan, in spite of the ^vrongs that most of the 
conspirators had done her, felt a renewal of pity 
for the woman she had once respected as a mother, 
for her childish companions and her friends, and 
possibly also some remains of love for Robert of 
Cabane, and sent two messengers to beg Bertram 
de Baux to show mercy to the culprits. But the 
chief-justice seized these men and had them tor- 
tured; and on their confession that they also were 
implicated in Andre's murder, he condemned them 
to the same punishment as the others. Dona Can- 
cha alone, by reason of her situation, escaped the 
torture, and her sentence was deferred till the day of 
her confinement. 

As this beautiful girl was returning to prison, 
with many a smile for all the handsomest cavaliers 
she could see in the crowd, she gave a sign to Charles 
of Durazzo as she neared him to come forward, and 
since her tongue had not been pierced ( for the same 
reason) with an iron instrument, she said some 
words to him a while in a low voice. 

Charles turned fearfully pale, and putting his 
hand to his sword, cried — 

" Wretched woman ! " 

" You forget, my lord, I am under the protection 
of the law." 



" My mother! — oh, my poor mother! " murmured 
Charles in a choked voice, and he fell backward. 

The next morning the people were beforehand 
with the executioner, loudly demanding their prey. 
All the national troops and mercenaries that the 
judicial authorities could command were echelonned 
in the streets, opposing a sort of dam to the torrent 
of the raging crowd. The sudden insatiable cruelty 
that too often degrades human nature had awaked 
in the populace: all heads were turned with hatred 
and frenzy ; all imaginations inflamed with the pas- 
sion for revenge; groups of men and women, roar- 
ing like wild beasts, threatened to knock down the 
walls of the prison, if the condemned were not 
handed over to them to take to the place of punish- 
ment: a great murmur arose, continuous, ever the 
same, like the growling of thunder: the queen's 
heart was petrified with terror. 

But, in spite of the desire of Bertram de Baux to 
satisfy the popular wish, the preparations for the 
solemn execution were not completed till midday, 
when the sun's rays fell scorchingly upon the town. 
There went up a mighty cry from ten thousand pal- 
pitating breasts when a report first ran through the 
crowd that the prisoners were about to appear. 
There was a moment of silence, and the prison doors 
rolled slowly back on their hinges with a rusty, grat- 
ing noise. A triple row of horsemen, with lowered 



visor and lance in rest, started the procession, and 
amid yells and curses the condemned prisoners came 
out one by one, each tied upon a cart, gagged and 
naked to the waist, in charge of two executioners, 
whose orders were to torture them the whole length 
of their way. On the first cart was the former 
laundress of Catana, afterwards wife of the grand 
seneschal and governess to the queen, Philippa of 
Cabane: the two executioners at right and left of 
her scourged her with such fury that the blood 
spurting up from the wounds left a long track in 
all the streets passed by the cortege. 

Immediately following their mother on separate 
carts came the Countesses of Terlizzi and Morcone, 
the elder no more than eighteen years of age. The 
two sisters were so marvellously beautiful that in 
the crowd a murmur of surprise was heard, and 
greedy eyes were fixed upon their naked trembling 
shoulders. But the men charged to torture them 
gazed with ferocious smiles upon their forms of 
seductive beauty, and, armed with sharp knives, cut 
off pieces of their flesh with a deliberate enjoyment 
and threw them out to the crowd, who eagerly 
struggled to get them, signing to the executioners 
to show which part of the victims' bodies they 

Robert of Cabane, the grand seneschal, the Counts 
of Terlizzi and Morcone, Raymond Pace, brother 



of the old valet who had been executed the day be- 
fore, and many more, were dragged on similar 
carts, and both scourged with ropes and slashed with 
knives ; their flesh was torn out with red-hot pincers, 
and flung upon brazen chafing-dishes. No cry of 
pain was heard from the grand seneschal, he never 
stirred once in his frightful agony; yet the torturers 
put such fury into their work that the poor wretch 
was dead before the goal was reached. 

In the centre of the square of Saint Eligius an 
immense stake was set up : there the prisoners were 
taken, and what was left of their mutilated bodies 
was thrown into the flames. The Count of Ter- 
lizzi and the grand seneschal's widow were still 
alive, and two tears of blood ran down the cheeks 
of the miserable mother as she saw her son's corpse 
and the palpitating remains of her two daughters 
cast upon the fire — they by their stifled cries showed 
that they had not ceased to suffer. But suddenly 
a fearful noise overpowered the groans of the vic- 
tims; the enclosure was broken and overturned by 
the mob. Like madmen, they rushed at the burning 
pile, armed with sabres, axes, and knives, and 
snatching the bodies dead or alive from the flames, 
tore them to pieces, carrying off the bones to make 
whistles or handles for their daggers as a souvenir 
of this horrible day. 



THE spectacle of this frightful punishment did 
not satisfy the revenge of Charles of Du- 
razzo. Seconded by the chief-justice, he daily 
brought about fresh executions, till Andre's death 
came to be no more than a pretext for the legal 
murder of all who opposed his projects. But Louis 
of Tarentum, who had won Joan's heart, and was 
eagerly trying to get the necessary dispensation for 
legalising the marriage, from this time forward took 
as a personal insult every act of the high court of 
justice which was performed against his will and 
against the queen's prerogative: he armed all his 
adherents, increasing their number by all the adven- 
turers he could get together, and so put on foot a 
strong enough force to support his own party and 
resist his cousin. Naples was thus split up into 
hostile camps, ready to come to blows on the small- 
est pretext, whose daily skirmishes, moreover, were 
always followed by some scene of pillage or 

But Louis had need of money both to pay his 
mercenaries and to hold his own against the Duke 



of Durazzo and his own brother Robert, and one 
day he discovered that the queen's coffers were 
empty. Joan was wTctched and desperate, and her 
lover, though generous and brave and anxious to 
reassure her so far as he could, did not very clearly 
see how to extricate himself from such a difficult 
situation. But his mother Catherine, whose ambi- 
tion was satisfied in seeing one of her sons, no mat- 
ter which, attain to the throne of Naples, came 
unexpectedly to their aid, promising solemnly that 
it would only take her a few days to be able to lay 
at her niece's feet a treasure richer than anything 
she had ever dreamed of, queen as she was. 

The empress then took half her son's troops, made 
for Saint Agatha, and besieged the fortress where 
Charles and Bertrand of Artois had taken refuge 
when they fled from justice. The old count, aston- 
ished at the sight of this woman, who had been the 
very soul of the conspiracy, and not in the least 
understanding her arrival as an enemy, sent out to 
ask the intention of this display of military force. 
To which Catherine replied in words which we 
translate literally: — 

" My friends, tell Charles, our faithful friend, 
that we desire to speak with him privately and 
alone concerning a matter equally interesting to 
us both, and he is not to be alarmed at our arriving 
in the guise of an enemy, for this we have done 



designedly, as we shall explain in the course of our 
interview. We know he is confined to bed by the 
gout, and therefore feel no surprise at his not com- 
ing out to meet us. Have the goodness to salute 
him on our part and reassure him, telling him that 
we desire to come in, if such is his good pleasure, 
with our intimate counsellor, Nicholas Acciajuoli, 
and ten soldiers only, to speak with him concerning 
an important matter that cannot be entrusted to 

Entirely reassured by these frank, friendly ex- 
planations, Charles of Artois sent out his son Ber- 
trand to the empress to receive her with the respect 
due to her rank and high position at the court of 
Naples. Catherine went promptly to the castle with 
many signs of joy, and inquiring after the count's 
health and expressing her affection, as soon as they 
were alone, she mysteriously lowered her voice and 
explained that the object of her visit was to consult 
a man of tried experience on the affairs of Naples, 
and to beg his active co-operation in the queen's 
favour. As, however, she was not pressed for time, 
she could wait at Saint Agatha for the count's 
recovery to hear his views and tell him of the march 
of events since he left the court. She succeeded so 
well in gaining the old man's confidence and banish- 
ing his suspicions, that he begged her to honour 
them with her presence as long as she was able, and 



little by little received all her men within the walls. 
This was what Catherine was waiting for: on the 
very day when her army was installed at Saint Aga- 
tha, she suddenly entered the count's room, fol- 
lowed by four soldiers, and seizing the old man by 
the throat, exclaimed wrath fully — 

" Miserable traitor, you will not escape from our 
hands before you have received the punishment you 
deserv^e. In the meanwhile, show me where your 
treasure is hidden, if you would not have me throw 
your body out to feed the crows that are swooping 
around these dungeons." 

The count, half choking, the dagger at his breast, 
did not even attempt to call for help ; he fell on his 
knees, begging the empress to save at least the life 
of his son, who was not yet well from the terrible 
attack of melancholia that had shaken his reason 
ever since the catastrophe. Then he painfully 
dragged himself to the place where he had hid- 
den his treasure, and pointing with his finger, 
cried — 

" Take all; take my life; but spare my son." 

Catherine could not contain herself for joy when 
she saw spread out at her feet exquisite and incred- 
ibly valuable cups, caskets of pearls, diamonds and 
rubies of marvellous value, coffers full of gold 
ingots, and all the wonders of Asia that surpass the 
wildest imagination. But when the old man, trem- 



bling, begged for the liberty of his son as the price 
of his fortune and his own hfe, the empress resumed 
her cold, pitiless manner, and harshly replied — 

" I have already given orders for your son to be 
brought here; but prepare for an eternal farewell, 
for he is to be taken to the fortress of Melfi, and you 
in all probability will end your days beneath the 
castle of Saint Agatha." 

The grief of the poor count at this violent separa- 
tion was so great, that a few days later he was 
found dead in his dungeon, his lips covered with 
a bloody froth, his hands gnawed in despair. Ber- 
trand did not long survive him. He actually lost 
his reason when he heard of his father's death, and 
hanged himself on the prison grating. Thus did the 
murderers of Andre destroy one another, like ven- 
omous animals shut up in the same cage. 

Catherine of Tarentum, carrying off the treasure 
she had so gained, arrived at the court of Naples, 
proud of her triumph and contemplating vast 
schemes. But new troubles had come about in her 
absence. Charles of Durazzo, for the last time 
desiring the queen to give him the duchy of Cala- 
bria, a title which had always belonged to the heir 
presumptive, and angered by her refusal, had writ- 
ten to Louis of Hungary, inviting him to take pos- 
session of the kingdom, and promising to help in 
the enterprise with all his own forces, and to give up 



the principal authors of his brother's death, who till 
now had escaped justice. 

The King of Hungary eagerly accepted these 
offers, and got ready an army to avenge Andre's 
death and proceed to the conquest of Naples. The 
tears of his mother Elizabeth and the advice of 
Friar Robert, the old minister, who had fled to 
Buda, confirmed him in his projects of vengeance. 
He had already lodged a bitter complaint at the 
court of Avignon that, while the inferior assassins 
had been punished, she who was above all others 
guilty had been shamefully let off scot free, and 
though still stained with her husband's blood, con- 
tinued to live a life of debauchery and adultery. 
The pope replied soothingly that, so far as it de- 
pended upon him, he would not be found slow to 
give satisfaction to a lawful grievance; but the ac- 
cusation ought to be properly formulated and sup- 
ported by proof ; that no doubt Joan's conduct dur- 
ing and after her husband's death was blamable; 
but His Majesty must consider that the Church of 
Rome, which before all things seeks truth and jus- 
tice, always proceeds with the utmost circumspec- 
tion, and in so grave a matter more especially must 
not judge by appearances only. 

Joan, frightened by the preparations for war, 
sent ambassadors to the Florentine Republic, to as- 
sert her innocence of the crime imputed to her by 



public opinion, and did not hesitate to send ex- 
cuses even to the Hungarian court; but Andre's 
brother repHed in a letter laconic and threatening : — • 

" Your former disorderly life, the arrogation to 
yourself of exclusive power, your neglect to punish 
your husband's murderers, your marriage to an- 
other husband, moreover your own excuses, are all 
sufficient proofs that you were an accomplice in the 

Catherine would not be put out of heart by the 
King of Hungary's threats, and looking at the posi- 
tion of the queen and her son with a coolness that 
was never deceived, she was convinced that there 
was no other means of safety except a reconciliation 
with Charles, their mortal foe, which could only be 
brought about by giving him all he wanted. It was 
one of two things: either he would help them to 
repulse the King of Hungary, and later on they 
would pay the cost when the dangers were less 
pressing, or he would be beaten himself, and thus 
they would at least have the pleasure of drawing him 
down with them in their own destruction. 

The agreement was made in the gardens of Castel 
Nuovo, whither Charles had repaired on the invita- 
tion of the queen and her aunt. To her cousin of 
Durazzo Joan accorded the title so much desired of 
Duke of Calabria, and Charles, feeling that he was 
hereby made heir to the kingdom, marched at once 



on Aquila, which town already was flying the Hun- 
garian colours. The wretched man did not foresee 
that he was going straight to his destruction. 

When the Empress of Constantinople saw this 
man, whom she hated above all others, depart in 
joy, she looked contemptuously upon him, divining 
by a woman's instinct that mischief would befall 
him ; then, having no further mischief to do, no fur- 
ther treachery on earth, no further revenge to sat- 
isfy, she all at once succumbed to some unknown 
malady, and died suddenly, without uttering a cry 
or exciting a single regret. 

But the King of Hungary, who had crossed Italy 
with a formidable army, now entered the kingdom 
from the side of Aquila : on his way he had every- 
where received marks of interest and sympathy; 
and Alberto and Mertino della Scala, lords of 
Verona, had given him three hundred horse to prove 
that all their goodwill was with him in his enter- 
prise. The news of the arrival of the Hungarians 
threw the court into a state of confusion impossible 
to describe. They had hoped that the king would 
be stopped by the pope's legate, who had come to 
Foligno to forbid him, in the name of the Holy 
Father, and on pain of excommunication to proceed 
any further without his consent ; but Louis of Hun- 
gary replied to the pope's legate that, once master 
of Naples, he should consider himself a feudatory 



of the Church, but till then he had no obligations 
except to God and his own conscience. Thus the 
avenging army fell like a thunderbolt upon the 
heart of the kingdom, before there was any thought 
of taking serious measures for defence. There was 
only one plan possible : the queen assembled the 
barons who were most strongly attached to her, 
made them swear homage and fidelity to Louis of 
Tarentum, whom she presented to them as her hus- 
band, and then leaving with many tears her most 
faithful subjects, she embarked secretly, in the mid- 
dle of the night, on a ship of Provence, and made 
for Marseilles. Louis of Tarentum, following the 
prompting of his adventure-loving character, left 
Naples at the head of three thousand horse and a 
considerable number of foot, and took up his post 
on the banks of the Voltorno, there to contest the 
enemy's passage; but the King of Hungary foresaw 
the stratagem, and while his adversary was waiting 
for him at Capua, he arrived at Beneventum by the 
mountains of Alife and Morcone, and on the same 
day received Neapolitan envoys : they in a magnifi- 
cent display of eloquence congratulated him on his 
entrance, offered the keys of the town, and swore 
obedience to him as being the legitimate successor 
of Charles of Anjou. The news of the surrender 
of Naples soon reached the queen's camp, and all 
the princes of the blood and the generals left Louis 



of Tarentum and took refuge in the capital. Re- 
sistance was impossible. Louis, accompanied by his 
counsellor, Nicholas Acciajuoli, went to Naples on 
the same evening on which his relatives quitted the 
town to get away from the enemy. Every hope of 
safety was vanishing as the hours passed by; his 
brothers and cousins begged him to go at once, so 
as not to draw down upon the town the king's ven- 
geance, but unluckily there was no ship in the har- 
bour that was ready to set sail. The terror of the 
princes was at its height ; but Louis, trusting in his 
luck, started with the brave Acciajuoli in an unsea- 
worthy boat, and ordering four sailors to row with 
all their might, in a few minutes disappeared, leav- 
ing his family in a great state of anxiety till they 
learned that he had reached Pisa, whither he had 
gone to join the queen in Provence. Charles of 
Durazzo and Robert of Tarentum, who were the 
eldest respectively of the two branches of the royal 
family, after hastily consulting, decided to soften 
the Hungarian monarch's wrath by a complete sub- 
mission. Leaving their young brothers at Naples, 
they accordingly set off for Aversa, where the king 
was. Louis received them with every mark of 
friendship, and asked with much interest why their 
brothers were not with them. The princes replied 
that their young brothers had stayed at Naples to 
prepare a worthy reception for His Majesty. Louis 

191 3 Dumas— Vol. G— E 


thanked them for their kind intentions, but begged 
them to invite the young princes now, saying that 
it would be infinitely more pleasant to enter Naples 
with all his family, and that he was most anxious 
to see his cousins. Charles and Robert, to please the 
king, sent equerries to bid their brothers come to 
Aversa; but Louis of Durazzo, the eldest of the boys, 
with many tears begged the others not to obey, and 
sent a message that he was prevented by a violent 
headache from leaving Naples. So puerile an excuse 
could not fail to annoy Charles, and the same day 
he compelled the unfortunate boys to appear before 
the king, sending a formal order which admitted of 
no delay. Louis of Hungary embraced them 
warmly one after the other, asked them several 
questions in an affectionate way, kept them to sup- 
per, and only let them go quite late at night. 

When the Duke of Durazzo reached his room, 
Lello of Aquila and the Count of Fondi slipped 
mysteriously to the side of his bed, and making 
sure that no one could hear, told him that the king 
in a council held that morning had decided to kill 
him and to imprison the other princes. Charles 
heard them out, but incredulously: suspecting 
treachery, he dryly replied that he had too much 
confidence in his cousin's loyalty to believe such a 
black calumny. Lello insisted, begging him in the 
name of his dearest friends to listen; but the 



duke was impatient, and harshly ordered him to 

The next day there was the same kindness on the 
king's part, the same affection shown to the children, 
the same invitation to supper. The banquet was 
magnificent; the room was brilliantly lighted, and 
the reflections were dazzling: vessels of gold shone 
on the table, the intoxicating perfume of flowers 
filled the air ; wine foamed in the goblets and flowed 
from the flagons In ruby streams : conversation, ex- 
cited and discursive, was heard on every side: all 
faces beamed with joy. 

Charles of Durazzo sat opposite the king, at a 
separate table among his brothers. Little by little 
his look grew fixed, his brow pensive. He was 
fancying that Andre might have supped in this very 
hall on the eve of his tragic end, and he thought how 
all concerned in that death had either died in tor- 
ment or were now languishing in prison ; the queen, 
an exile and a fugitive, was begging pity from 
strangers: he alone was free. The thought made 
him tremble; but admiring his own cleverness in 
pursuing his infernal schemes, and putting away 
his sad looks, he smiled again with an expression of 
indefinable pride. The madman at this moment 
was scoffing at the justice of God. But Lello of 
Aquila, who was waiting at the table, bent down, 
whispering gloomily — 



" Unhappy duke, why did you refuse to believe 
me? Fly, while there is yet time." 

Charles, angered by the man's obstinacy, threat- 
ened that if he were such a fool as to say any more, 
he would repeat every word aloud. 

" I have done my duty," murmured Lello, bow- 
ing his head ; " now it must happen as God 

As he left of¥ speaking, the king rose, and as the 
duke went up to take his leave, his face suddenly 
changed, and he cried in an awful voice — 

" Traitor ! At length you are in my hands, and 
you shall die as you deserve; but before you are 
handed over to the executioner, confess with your 
own lips your deeds of treachery towards our royal 
majesty: so shall we need no other witness to con- 
demn you to a punishment proportioned to your 
crimes. Between our two selves, Duke of Durazzo 
— tell me first why, by your infamous manoeuvring, 
you aided your uncle, the Cardinal of Perigord, to 
hinder the coronation of my brother, and so led 
him on, since he had no royal prerogative of his 
own, to his miserable end? Oh, make no attempt 
to deny it. Here is the letter sealed with your seal : 
in secret you wrote it, but it accuses you in public. 
Then why, after bringing us hither to avenge our 
brother's death, — of which you beyond all doubt 
were the cause, — why did you suddenly turn to the 



queen's party and march against our town of 
Aquila, daring to raise an army against our faithful 
subjects? You hoped, traitor, to make use of us 
as a footstool to mount the throne withal, as soon 
as you were free from every other rival. Then you 
would but have awaited our departure to kill the 
viceroy we should have left in our place, and so 
seize the kingdom. But this time your foresight 
has been at fault. There is yet another crime worse 
than all the rest, a crime of high treason, which I 
shall remorselessly punish. You carried off the 
bride that our ancestor King Robert designed for 
me, as you knew, by his will. Answer, wretch: 
what excuse can you make for the rape of the Prin- 
cess Marie? " 

Anger had so changed Louis's voice that the last 
words sounded Hke the roar of a wild beast: his 
eyes glittered with a feverish light, his lips were 
pale and trembling. Charles and his brothers fell 
upon their knees, frozen by mortal terror, and the 
unhappy duke twice tried to speak, but his teeth 
were chattering so violently that he could not articu- 
late a single word. At last, casting his eyes about 
him and seeing his poor brothers, innocent and 
ruined by his fault, he regained some sort of cour- 
age, and said — 

" My lord, you look upon me with a terrible 
countenance that makes me tremble. But on my 



knees I entreat you, have mercy on me if I have done 
wrong, for God is my witness that I did not call 
you to this kingdom with any criminal intention: 
I have always desired, and still desire, your suprem- 
acy in all the sincerity of my soul. Some treach- 
erous counsellors, I am certain, have contrived to 
draw down your hatred upon me. If it is true, as 
you say, that I went with an armed force to Aquila, 
I was compelled by Queen Joan, and I could not do 
otherwise; but as soon as I heard of your arrival 
at Fermo I took my troops away again. I hope for 
the love of Christ I may obtain your mercy and 
pardon, by reason of my former services and con- 
stant loyalty. But as I see you are now angry with 
me I say no more waiting for your fury to pass 
over. Once again, my lord, have pity upon us, 
since we are in the hands of your Majesty." 

The king turned away his head, and retired 
slowly, confiding the prisoners to the care of Ste- 
phen Vayvoda and the Count of Zornic, who 
guarded them during the night in a room adjoining 
the king's chamber. The next day Louis held an- 
other meeting of his council, and ordered that 
Charles should have his throat cut on the very spot 
where poor Andre had been hanged. He then sent 
the other princes of the blood, loaded with chains, 
to Hungary, where they were long kept prisoners. 
Charles, quite thunderstruck by such an unexpected 



blow, overwhelmed by the thought of his past 
crimes, trembled like a coward face to face with 
death, and seemed completely crushed. Bowed 
upon his knees, his face half hidden in his hands, 
from time to time convulsive sobs escaped him, as 
he tried to fix the thoughts that chased each other 
through his mind like the shapes of a monstrous 
dream. Night was in his soul, but every now and 
then light flashed across the darkness, and over the 
gloomy background of his despair passed gilded fig- 
ures fleeing from him with smiles of mockery. In 
his ears buzzed voices from the other world ; he saw 
a long procession of ghosts, like the conspirators 
whom Nicholas of Melazzo had pointed out in the 
vaults of Castel Nuovo. But these phantoms each 
held his head in his hand, and shaking it by the hair, 
bespattered him with drops of blood. Some bran- 
dished whips, some knives : each threatened Charles 
with his instrument of torture. Pursued by the 
nocturnal train, the hapless man opened his mouth 
for one mighty cry, but his breath was gone, and it 
died upon his lips. Then he beheld his mother 
stretching out her arms from afar, and he fancied 
that if he could but reach her he would be safe. 
But at each step the path grew more and more nar- 
row, pieces of his flesh were torn ofif by the ap- 
proaching walls ; at last, breathless, naked and 
bleeding, he reached his goal; but his mother glided 



farther away, and it was all to begin over again. 
The phantoms pursued him, grinning and scream- 
ing in his ears — 

" Cursed be he who slayeth his mother ! " 

Charles was roused from these horrors by the 
cries of his brothers, who had come to embrace him 
for the last time before embarking. The duke 
in a low voice asked their pardon, and then fell back 
into his state of despair. The children were 
dragged away, begging to be allowed to share their 
brother's fate, and crying for death as an allevia- 
tion of their woes. At length they were separated, 
but the sound of their lamentation sounded long 
in the heart of the condemned man. After a few 
moments, two soldiers and two equerries came to 
tell the duke that his hour had come. 

Charles followed them, unresisting, to the fatal 
balcony where Andre had been hanged. He was 
there asked if he desired to confess, and when he 
said yes, they brought a monk from the same con- 
vent where the terrible scene had been enacted : he 
listened to the confession of all his sins, and granted 
him absolution. The duke at once rose and walked 
to the place where Andre had been thrown down 
for the cord to be put round his neck, and there, 
kneeling again, he asked his executioners — 

" Friends, in pity tell me, is there any hope for 
my hfe?" 



And when they answered no, Charles ex- 
claimed — 

" Then carry out your instructions." 
At these words, one of the equerries plunged his 
sword into his breast, and the other cut his head off 
with a knife, and his corpse was thrown over the 
balcony into the garden where Andre's body had 
lain for three days unburied. 



THE King of Hungary, his black flag ever 
borne before him, started for Naples, refus- 
ing all offered honours, and rejecting the canopy- 
beneath which he was to make his entry, not even 
stopping to give audience to the chief citizens or to 
receive the acclamations of the crowd. Armed at 
all points, he made for Castel Nuovo, leavino- be- 
hind him dismay and fear. His first act on enter- 
ing the city was to order Doiia Cancha to be burnt, 
her punishment having been deferred by reason of 
her pregnancy. Like the others, she was drawn on 
a cart to the square of St. Eligius, and there con- 
signed to the flames. The young creature, whose 
suffering had not impaired her beauty, was dressed 
as for a festival, and laughing like a mad thing up 
to the last moment, mocked at her executioners and 
threw kisses to the crowd. 

A few days later, Godfrey of Marsana, Count of 
Squillace and grand admiral of the kingdom, was 
arrested by the king's orders. His life was prom- 
ised him on condition of his delivering up Conrad 
of Catanzaro, one of his relatives, accused of con- 



spiring against Andre. The grand admiral com- 
mitted this act of shameless treachery, and did not 
shrink from sending his own son to persuade Con- 
rad to come to the town. The poor wretch was 
given over to the king, and tortured alive on a 
wheel made with sharp knives. The sight of these 
barbarities, far from calming the king's rage, 
seemed to inflame it the more. Every day there 
were new accusations and new sentences. The 
prisons were crowded : Louis's punishments were re- 
doubled in severity. A fear arose that the town, 
and indeed the whole kingdom, were to be treated 
as having taken part in Andre's death. Murmurs 
arose against this barbarous rule, and all men's 
thoughts turned towards their fugitive queen. The 
Neapolitan barons had taken the oath of fidelity 
with no willing hearts; and when it came to the 
turn of the Counts of San Severino, they feared a 
trick of some kind, and refused to appear all to- 
gether before the Hungarian, but took refuge in 
the town of Salerno, and sent Archbishop Roger, 
their brother, to make sure of the king's intentions 
beforehand. Louis received him magnificently, and 
appointed him privy councillor and grand proto- 
notary. Then, and not till then, did Robert of San 
Severino and Roger, Count of Chiaramonte, ven- 
ture into the king's presence; after doing homage, 
they retired to their homes. The other barons fol- 



lowed their example of caution, and hiding their 
discontent under a show of respect, awaited a 
favourable moment for shaking off the foreign 
yoke. But the queen had encountered no obstacle 
in her flight, and arrived at Nice five days later. 
Her passage through Provence was like a triumph. 
Her beauty, youth, and misfortunes, even certain 
mysterious reports as to her adventures, all con- 
tributed to arouse the interest of the Provencal 
people. Games and fetes were improvised to soften 
the hardship of exile for the proscribed princess; 
but amid the outbursts of joy from every town, 
castle, and city, Joan, always sad, lived ever in her 
silent grief and glowing memories. 

At the gates of Aix she found the clergy, the 
nobility, and the chief magistrates, who received 
her respectfully but with no signs of enthusiasm. 
As the queen advanced, her astonishment increased 
as she saw the coldness of the people and the sol- 
emn, constrained air of the great men who escorted 
her. Many anxious thoughts alarmed her, and she 
even went so far as to fear some intrigue of the 
King of Hungary. Scarcely had her cortege arrived 
at Castle Arnaud, when the nobles, dividing into 
two ranks, let the queen pass with her counsellor 
Spinelli and two women; then closing up, they cut 
her off from the rest of her suite. After this, each in 
turn took up his station as guardian of the fortress. 



There was no room for doubt : the queen was 
a prisoner; but the cause of the manoeuvre it was 
impossible to guess. She asked the high digni- 
taries, and they, protesting respectful devotion, re- 
fused to explain till they had news from Avignon. 
Meanwhile all honours that a queen could receive 
were lavished on Joan ; but she was kept in sight 
and forbidden to go out. This new trouble in- 
creased her depression : she did not know what had 
happened to Louis of Tarentum, and her imagin- 
ation, always apt at creating disasters, instantly 
suggested that she would soon be weeping for his 

But Louis, always with his faithful Acciajuoli, 
had after many fatiguing adventures been ship- 
wrecked at the port of Pisa; thence he had taken 
route for Florence, to beg men and money; but 
the Florentines decided to keep an absolute neutral- 
ity, and refused to receive him. The prince, losing 
his last hope, was pondering gloomy plans, when 
Nicholas Acciajuoli thus resolutely addressed 
him : — 

" My lord, it is not given to mankind to enjoy 
prosperity for ever: there are misfortunes beyond 
all human foresight. You were once rich and 
powerful, and you are now a fugitive in disguise, 
begging the help of others. You must reserve your 
strength for better days. I still have a considerable 



fortune, and also have relations and friends whose 
wealth is at my disposal : let us try to make our 
way to the queen, and at once decide what we can 
do. I myself shall always defend you and obey you 
as my lord and master." 

The prince received these generous offers with the 
utmost gratitude, and told his counsellor that he 
placed his person in his hands and all that remained 
of his future. Acciajuoli, not content with serving 
his master as a devoted servant, persuaded his 
brother Angelo, Archbishop of Florence, who was 
in great favour at Clement vi's court, to join with 
them in persuading the pope to interest himself in 
the cause of Louis of Tarentum. So, without fur- 
ther delay, the prince, his counsellor, and the good 
prelate made their way to the port of Marseilles, 
but learning that the queen was a prisoner at Aix, 
they embarked at Acque-Morte, and went straight 
to Avignon. It soon appeared that the pope had a 
real affection and esteem for the character of the 
Archbishop of Florence, for Louis was received 
with paternal kindness at the court of Avignon, 
which was far more than he had expected. When 
he kneeled before the sovereign pontiff. His Holi- 
ness bent affectionately towards him and helped 
him to rise, saluting him by the title of king. 

Two days later, another prelate, the Arch- 
bishop of Aix, came into the queen's presence, 



and solemnly bowing before her, spoke as fol- 
lows : — 

" Most gracious and dearly beloved sovereign, 
permit the most humble and devoted of your ser- 
vants to ask pardon, in the name of your subjects, 
for the painful but necessary measure they have 
thought fit to take concerning your Majesty. When 
you arrived on our coast, your loyal town of Aix 
had learned from a trustworthy source that the 
King of France was proposing to give our country 
to one of his own sons, making good this loss to 
you by the cession of another domain, also that the 
Duke of Normandy had come to Avignon to request 
this exchange in person. We were quite decided, 
madam, and had made a vow to God that we would 
give up everything rather than suffer the hateful 
tyranny of the French. But before spilling blood 
we thought it best to secure your august person as 
a sacred hostage, a sacred ark which no man dared 
touch but was smitten to the ground, which indeed 
must keep away from our walls the scourge of war. 
We have now read the formal annulment of this 
hateful plan, in a brief sent by the sovereign pontiff 
from Avignon; and in this brief he himself guar- 
antees your good faith. 

" We give you your full and entire liberty, and 
henceforth we shall only endeavour to keep you 
among us by prayers and protestations. Go then, 



madam, if that is your pleasure, but before you 
leave these lands, which will be plunged into mourn- 
ing by your withdrawal, leave with us some hope 
that you forgive the apparent violence to which we 
have subjected you, only in the fear that we might 
lose you; and remember that on the day when you 
cease to be our queen you sign the death-warrant 
of all your subjects." 

Joan reassured the archbishop and the deputation 
from her good town of Aix with a melancholy 
smile, and promised that she would always cherish 
the memory of their affection. For this time she 
could not be deceived as to the real sentiments of 
the nobles and people ; and a fidelity so uncommon, 
revealed with sincere tears, touched her heart and 
made her reflect bitterly upon her past. But a 
league's distance from Avignon a magnificent tri- 
umphal reception awaited her. Louis of Tarentum 
and all the cardinals present at the court had come 
out to meet her. Pages in dazzling dress carried 
above Joan's head a canopy of scarlet velvet, orna- 
mented with fleur-de-lys in gold and plumes. Hand- 
some youths and lovely girls, their heads crowned 
with flowers, went before her singing her praise.' 
The streets were bordered with a living hedge of 
people, the houses were decked out, the bells rang 
a triple peal, as at the great Church festivals. 
Clement vi first received the queen at the castle of 



Avignon with all the pomp he knew so well how to 
employ on solemn occasions, then she was lodged in 
the palace of Cardinal Napoleon of the Orsini, who 
on his return from the Conclave at Perugia had 
built this regal dwelling at Villeneuve, inhabited 
later by the popes. 

No words could give an idea of the strangely 
disturbed condition of Avignon at this period. 
Since Clement v had transported the seat of the 
papacy to Provence, there had sprung up, in this 
rival to Rome, squares, churches, cardinals' palaces, 
of unparalleled splendour. All the business of na- 
tions and kings was transacted at the castle of 
Avignon. Ambassadors from every court, mer- 
chants of every nation, adventurers of all kinds, 
Italians, Spaniards, Hungarians, Arabs, Jews, sol- 
diers, Bohemians, jesters, poets, monks, courtesans, 
swarmed and clustered here, and hustled one an- 
other in the streets. There was confusion of 
tongues, customs, and costumes, an inextricable 
mixture of splendour and rags, riches and misery, 
debasement and grandeur. The austere poets of the 
Middle Ages stigmatised the accursed city in their 
WTitings under the name of the New Babylon. 

There is one curious monument of Joan's sojourn 
at Avignon and the exercise of her authority as 
sovereign. She was indignant at the effrontery of 
the women of the town, who elbowed everybody 



shamelessly in the streets, and published a notable 
edict, the first of its kind, which has since served as 
a model in like cases, to compel all unfortunate 
women who trafficked in their honour to live shut 
up together in a house, that was bound to be open 
every day in the year except the last three days of 
Holy Week, the entrance to be barred to Jews at all 
times. An abbess, chosen once a year, had the su- 
preme control over this strange convent. Rules 
were established for the maintenance of order, and 
severe penalties inflicted for any infringement of 
discipline. The lawyers of the period gained a 
great reputation by this salutary institution ; the fair 
ladies of Avignon were eager in their defence of 
the queen in spite of the calumnious reports that 
strove to tarnish her reputation: with one voice 
the wisdom of Andre's widow was extolled. The 
concert of praises was disturbed, however, by mur- 
murs from the recluses themselves, who, in their 
own brutal language, declared that Joan of Naples 
was impeding their commerce so as to get a mon- 
opoly for herself. 

Meanwhile Marie of Durazzo had joined her 
sister. After her husband's death she had found- 
means to take refuge in the convent of Santa Croce 
with her two little daughters; and while Louis of 
Hungary was busy burning his victims, the unhappy 
Marie had contrived to make her escape in the frock 



of an old monk, and as by a miracle to get on board 
a ship that was setting sail for Provence. She re- 
lated to her sister the frightful details of the king's 
cruelty. And soon a new proof of his implacable 
hatred confirmed the tales of the poor princess: 
Louis's ambassadors appeared at the court of 
Avignon to demand formally the queen's con- 

It was a great day when Joan of Naples pleaded 
her own cause before the pope, in the presence of 
all the cardinals then at Avignon, all the ambas- 
sadors of foreign powers, and all the eminent per- 
sons come from every quarter of Europe to be 
present at this trial, unique in the annals of history. 
We must imagine a vast enclosure, in whose midst 
upon a raised throne, as president of the august 
tribunal, sat God's vicar on earth, absolute and 
supreme judge, emblem of temporal and spiritual 
power, of authority human and divine. To right 
and left of the sovereign pontiff, the cardinals in 
their red robes sat in chairs set round in a circle, 
and behind these princes of the Sacred College 
stretched rows of bishops extending to the end of 
the hall, with vicars, canons, deacons, archdeacons, 
and the whole immense hierarchy of the Church. 
Facing the pontifical throne was a platform re- 
served for the Queen of Naples and her suite. At 
the pope's feet stood the ambassadors from the King 



of Hungary, who played the part of accusers with- 
out speaking a word, the circumstances of the crime 
and all the proofs having been discussed before- 
hand by a committee appointed for the purpose. The 
rest of the hall was filled by a brilliant crowd of 
high dignitaries, illustrious captains, and noble 
envoys, all vying with one another in proud dis- 
play. Everyone ceased to breathe, all eyes were 
fixed on the dais whence Joan was to speak her own 
defence. A movement of uneasy curiosity made 
this compact mass of humanity surge towards the 
centre, the cardinals above raised like proud pea- 
cocks over a golden harvest-field shaken in the 

The queen appeared, hand in hand with her 
uncle, the old Cardinal of Perigord, and her aunt, 
the Countess Agnes. Her gait was so modest and 
proud, her countenance so melancholy and pure, her 
looks so open and confident, that even before she 
spoke every heart was hers. Joan was now twenty 
years of age; her magnificent beauty was fully 
developed, but an extreme pallor concealed the bril- 
liance of her transparent satin skin, and her hollow 
cheek told the tale of expiation and suffering; 
Among the spectators who looked on most eagerly 
there was a certain young man with strongly 
marked features, glowing eyes, and brown hair, 
whom we shall meet again later on in our narra- 



tive; but we will not divert our readers' attention, 
but only tell them that his name was James of Ara- 
gon, that he was Prince of Majorca, and would 
have been ready to shed every drop of his blood 
only to check one single tear that hung on Joan's 
eyelids. The queen spoke in an agitated, trembling 
voice, stopping from time to time to dry her moist 
and shining eyes, or to breathe one of those deep 
sighs that go straight to the heart. She told the 
tale of her husband's death painfully and vividly, 
painted truthfully the mad terror that had seized 
upon her and struck her down at that frightful 
time, raised her hands to her brow with the gesture 
of despair, as though she would wrest the madness 
from her brain — and a shudder of pity and awe 
passed through the assembled crowd. It is a fact 
that at this moment, if her words were false, her 
anguish was both sincere and terrible. An angel 
soiled by crime, she lied like Satan himself, but like 
him too she suffered all the agony of remorse and 
pride. Thus, when at the end of her speech she 
burst into tears and implored help and protection 
against the usurper of her kingdom, a cry of general 
assent drowned her closins: words, several hands 
flew to their sword-hilts, and the Hungarian am- 
bassadors retired covered with shame and con- 

That same evening the sentence, to the great joy 



of all, was proclaimed, that Joan was innocent and 
acquitted of all concern in the assassination of her 
husband. But as her conduct after the event and 
the indifference she had shown about pursuing the 
authors of the crime admitted of no valid excuse, 
the pope declared that there were plain traces of 
magic, and that the wrong-doing attributed to Joan 
was the result of some baneful charm cast upon 
her, which she could by no possible means resist. 
At the same time, His Holiness confirmed her mar- 
riage with Louis of Tarentum, and bestowed on 
him the order of the Rose of Gold and the title of 
King of Sicily and Jerusalem. Joan, it is true, had 
on the eve of her acquittal sold the town of Avignon 
to the pope for the sum of 80,000 florins. 

While the queen was pleading her cause at the 
court of Clement vi, a dreadful epidemic, called the 
Black Plague — the same that Boccaccio has de- 
scribed so wonderfully — was ravaging the kingdom 
of Naples, and indeed the whole of Italy. Ac- 
cording to the calculation of Matteo Villani, Flor- 
ence lost three-fifths of her population, Bologna 
two-thirds, and nearly all Europe was reduced in 
some such frightful proportion. The Neapolitans 
were already weary of the cruelties and greed of 
the Hungarians, they were only awaiting some 
opportunity to revolt against the stranger's oppres- 
sion, and to recall their lawful sovereign, whom, 



for all her ill deeds, they had never ceased to love. 
The attraction of youth and beauty was deeply 
felt by this pleasure-loving people. Scarcely had 
the pestilence thrown confusion into the army and 
town, when loud cursing arose against the tyrant 
and his executioners. Louis of Hungary, suddenly 
threatened by the wrath of Heaven and the people's 
vengeance, w'as terrified both by the plague and 
by the riots, and disappeared in the middle of the 
night. Leaving the government of Naples in the 
hands of Conrad Lupo, one of his captains, he em- 
barked hastily at Berletta, and left the kingdom in 
very much the same way as Louis of Tarentum, 
fleeing from him, had left it a few months before. 
This news arrived at Avignon just when the pope 
was about to send the queen his bull of absolution. 
It was at once decided to take away the kingdom 
from Louis's viceroy. Nicholas Acciajuoli left for 
Naples with the marvellous bull that was to prove 
to all men the innocence of the queen, to banish 
all scruples and stir up a new enthusiasm. The 
counsellor first v/ent to the castle of Melzi, com- 
manded by his son Lorenzo : this was the only fort- 
ress that had always held out. The father and son 
embraced with the honourable pride that near rela- 
tives may justly feel when they meet after they 
have united in the performance of a heroic duty. 
From the governor of Melzi Louis of Tarentum's 



counsellor learned that all men were wearied of the 
arrogance and vexatious conduct of the queen's ene- 
mies, and that a conspiracy was in train, started in 
the University of Naples, but with vast ramifica- 
tions all over the kingdom, and moreover that there 
was dissension in the enemy's army. The inde- 
fatigable counsellor went from Apulia to Naples, 
traversing towns and villages, collecting men every- 
where, proclaiming loudly the acquittal of the queen 
and her marriage with Louis of Tarentum, also 
that the pope was offering indulgences to such as 
would receive with joy their lawful sovereigns. 
Then seeing that the people shouted as he went by, 
" Long live Joan! Death to the Hungarians! " he 
returned and told his sovereigns in what frame of 
mind he had left their subjects. 

Joan borrowed money wherever she could, armed 
galleys, and left Marseilles with her husband, her 
sister, and two faithful advisers, Acciajuoli and 
Spinelli, on the loth of September 1348. The king 
and queen not being able to enter at the harbour, 
which was in the enemy's power, disembarked at 
Santa Maria del Carmine, near the river Sebeto, 
amid the frenzied applause of an immense crowd-, 
and accompanied by all the Neapolitan nobles. 
They made their way to the palace of Messire 
Ajutorio, near Porta Capuana, the Hungarians hav- 
ing fortified themselves in all the castles ; but Accia- 



juoli, at the head of the queen's partisans, block- 
aded the fortresses so ably that half of the enemy 
were obliged to surrender, and the other half took 
to flight and were scattered about the interior of the 
kingdom. We shall now follow Louis of Tarentum 
in his arduous adventures in Apulia, the Calabrias, 
and the Abruzzi, where he recovered one by one the 
fortresses that the Hungarians had taken. By 
dint of unexampled valour and patience, he at last 
mastered nearly all the more considerable places, 
when suddenly everything changed, and fortune 
turned her back upon him for the second time. A 
German captain called Warner, who had deserted 
the Hungarian army to sell himself to the queen, had 
again played the traitor and sold himself once more, 
allowed himself to be surprised at Corneto by Con- 
rad Lupo, the King of Hungary's vicar-general, 
and openly joined him, taking along with him a 
great party of the adventurers who fought under 
his orders. This unexpected defection forced Louis 
of Tarentum to retire to Naples. The King of 
Hungary soon learning that the troops had rallied 
round his banner, and only awaited his return to 
march upon the capital, disembarked with a strong 
reinforcement of cavalry at the port of Manfre- 
donia, and taking Trani, Canosa, and Salerno, went 
forward to lay siege to Aversa. 

The news fell like a thunder-clap on Joan and her 



husband. The Hung'arian army consisted of lO,- 
ooo horse and more than 7000 infnntry, and Aversa 
had only 500 soldiers under Giacomo Pignatelli. 
In spite of the immense disproportion of the num- 
bers, the Neapolitan general vigorously repelled the 
attack; and the King of Hungary, fighting in the 
front, was wounded in his foot by an arrow. Then 
Louis, seeing that it would be difficult to take the 
place by storm, determined to starve them out. 
For three months the besieged performed prodigies 
of valour, and further assistance was impossible. 
Their capitulation was expected at any moment, 
unless indeed they decided to perish every man. 
Renaud des Baux, who was to come from Mar- 
seilles with a squadron of ten ships to defend the 
ports of the capital and secure the queen's flight, 
should the Hungarian army get possession of Na- 
ples, had been delayed by adverse winds and obliged 
to stop on the way. All things seemed to conspire 
in favour of the enemy. Louis of Tarentum, whose 
generous soul refused to shed the blood of his brave 
men in an unequal and desperate struggle, nobly 
sacrificed himself, and made an offer to the King 
of Hungary to settle their quarrel in single combat. 
We append the authentic letters that passed between 
Joan's husband and Andre's brother. 

" Illustrious King of Hungary, who has come to 
invade our kingdom, we, by the grace of God King 



of Jerusalem and Sicily, invite you to single com- 
bat. We know that you are in no wise disturbed 
by the death of your lancers or the other pagans in 
your suite, no more indeed than if they were dogs; 
but we, fearing harm to our own soldiers and men- 
at-arms, desire to fight with you personally, to put 
an end to the present war and restore peace to our 
kingdom. He who survives shall be king. And 
therefore, to ensure that this duel shall take place, 
we definitely propose as a site either Paris, in the 
presence of the King of France, or one of the towns 
of Perugia, Avignon, or Naples. Choose one of 
these four places, and send us your reply." 

The King of Hungary first consulted with his 
council, and then replied : — 

" Great King, we have read and considered your 
letter sent to us by the bearer of these presents, 
and by your invitation to a duel we are most su- 
premely pleased; but we do not approve of any of 
the places you propose, since they are all suspect, 
and for several reasons. The King of France is 
your maternal grandfather, and although we are 
also connected by blood with him, the relationship 
is not so near. The town of Avignon, although 
nominally belonging to the sovereign pontiff, is the 
capital of Provence, and has always been subject 
to your rule. Neither have we any more confidence 
in Perugia, for that town is devoted to your cause. 



As to the city of Naples, there is no need to say 
that we refuse that rendezvous, since it is in revolt 
against us and you are there as king. But if you 
wish to fight with us, let it be in the presence of the 
Emperor of Germany, who is lord supreme, or the 
King of England, who is our common friend, or the 
Patriarch of Aquilea, a good Catholic. If you do 
not approve of any of the places we propose, we 
shall soon be near you with our army, and so remove 
all difficulties and delays. Then you can come forth, 
and our duel can take place in the presence of both 

After the interchange of these two letters, Louis 
of Tarentum proposed nothing further. The gar- 
rison at Aversa had capitulated after a heroic resist- 
ance, and it was known only too well that if the 
King of Hungary could get so far as the walls of 
Naples, he would not have to endanger his life in 
order to seize that city. Happily the Provengal gal- 
leys had reached port at last. The king and the 
queen had only just time to embark and take refuge 
at Gaeta. The Hungarian army arrived at Naples. 
The town was on the point of yielding, and had 
sent messengers to the king humbly demanding 
peace; but the speeches of the Hungarians showed 
such insolence that the people, irritated past endur- 
ance, took up arms, and resolved to defend their 
household gods with all the energy of despair. 



WHILE the Neapolitans were holding out 
against their enemy at the Porta Capuana, 
a strange scene was being enacted at the other side 
of the town, a scene that shows us in lively colours 
the violence and treachery of this barbarous age. 
The widow of Charles of Durazzo was shut up in 
the castle of Ovo, and awaiting in feverish anxiety 
the arrival of the ship that was to take her to the 
queen. The poor Princess Marie, pressing her 
weeping children to her heart, pale, with dishevelled 
locks, fixed eyes, and drawn lips, was listening for 
every sound, distracted between hope and fear. 
Suddenly steps resounded along the corridor, a 
friendly voice was heard, Marie fell upon her knees 
with a cry of joy: her liberator had come. 

Renaud des Baux, admiral of the Provengal 
squadron, respectfully advanced, followed by his 
eldest son Robert and his chaplain. 

" God, I thank Thee ! " exclaimed Marie, rising 
to her feet; " we are saved." 

" One moment, madam," said Renaud, stopping 
her : " you are indeed saved, but upon one con- 



" A condition ? " murmured the princess in sur- 

" Listen, madam. The King of Hungary, the 
avenger of Andre's murderers, the slayer of your 
husband, is at the gates of Naples; the people and 
soldiers will succumb, as soon as their last gallant 
effort is spent: the army of the conqueror is about 
to spread desolation and death throughout the city 
by fire and the sword. This time the Hungarian 
butcher will spare no victims : he will kill the mother 
before her children's eyes, the children in their 
mother's arms. The drawbridge of this castle is 
up and there are none on guard ; every man who can 
wield a sword is now at the other end of the town. 
Woe to you, Marie of Durazzo, if the King of 
Hungary shall remember that you preferred his 
rival to him ! " 

" But have you not come here to save me ? " cried 
Marie in a voice of anguish. " Joan, my sister, did 
she not command you to take me to her ? " 

" Your sister is no longer in the position to give 
orders," replied Renaud, with a disdainful smile. 
" She had nothingf for me but thanks because I saved 
her life, and her husband's too, when he fled like a 
coward before the man whom he had dared to chal- 
lenge to a duel." 

Marie looked fixedly at the admiral, to assure 
herself that it was really he who thus arrogantly 



talked about his masters. But she was terrified at 
his imperturbable expression, and said gently — 

" As I owe my life and my children's lives solely 
to your generosity, I am grateful to you beyond all 
measure. But we must hurry, my lord : every mo- 
ment I fancy I hear cries of vengeance, and you 
would not leave me now a prey to my brutal 
enemy? " 

"God forbid, madam; I will save you at the risk 
of my Hfe; but I have said already, I impose a 

" What is it ? " said Marie, with forced calm. 

" That you marry my son on the instant, in the 
presence of our reverend chaplain." 

" Rash man ! " cried Marie, recoiling, her face 
scarlet with indignation and shame ; " you dare to 
speak thus to the sister of your legitimate sovereign? 
Give thanks to God that I will pardon an insult 
offered, as I know, in a moment of madness; try 
by your devotion to make me forget what you have 

The count, without one word, signed to his son 
and a priest to follow, and prepared to depart. As 
he crossed the threshold Marie ran to him, and 
clasping her hands, prayed him in God's name 
never to forsake her. Renaud stopped. 

" I might easily take my revenge," he said, " for 
your affront when you refuse my son in your pride; 



but that business I leave to Louis of Hungary, who 
will acquit himself, no doubt, with credit." 

" Have mercy on my poor daughters ! " cried 
the princess ; " mercy at least for my poor babes, 
if my own tears cannot move you." 

" If you loved your children," said the admiral, 
frowning, " you would have done your duty at 

" But I do not love your son ! " cried Marie, proud 
but trembling. " O God, must a wretched woman's 
heart be thus trampled? You, father, a minister 
of truth and justice, tell this man that God must 
uot be called on to witness an oath dragged from 
the weak and helpless ! " 

She turned to the admiral's son, and added, sob- 

" You are young, perhaps you have loved : one 
day no doubt you will love. I appeal to your loy- 
alty as a young man, to your courtesy as a knight, 
to all your noblest impulses ; join me, and turn your 
father away from his fatal project. You have 
never seen me before : you do not know but that in 
my secret heart I love another. Your pride should 
be revolted at the sight of an unhappy woman cast- 
ing herself at your feet and imploring your favour 
and protection. One word from you, Robert, and 
I shall bless you every moment of my life: the 
memory of you will be graven in my heart like the 



memory of a guardian angel, and my children shall 
name you nightly in their prayers, asking God to 
grant your wishes. Oh, say, will you not save me? 
Who knows, later on I may love you — with real 

" I must obey my father," Robert replied, never 
lifting his eyes to the lovely suppliant. 

The priest was silent. Two minutes passed, and 
these four persons, each absorbed in his own 
thoughts, stood motionless as statues carved at the 
four corners of a tomb. Marie was thrice tempted 
to throw herself into the sea. But a confused dis- 
tant sound suddenly struck upon her ears : little by 
little it drew nearer, voices were more distinctly 
heard; women in the street were uttering cries of 
distress — 

" Fly, fly ! God has forsaken us ; the Hungarians 
are in the town ! " 

The tears of Marie's children were the answer 
to these cries ; and little Margaret, raising her hands 
to her mother, expressed her fear in speech that 
was far beyond her years. Renaud, without one 
look at this touching picture, drew his son towards 
the door. 

" Stay," said the princess, extending her hand 
with a solemn gesture : " as God sends no other aid 
to my children, it is His will that the sacrifice be 

1945 Dumas— Vol. C— F 


She fell on her knees before the priest, bending 
her head Hke a victim who offers her neck to the 
executioner. Robert des Baux took his place be- 
side her, and the priest pronounced the formula that 
united them for ever, consecrating the infamous 
deed by a sacrilegious blessing. 

"All is over!" murmured Marie of Durazzo, 
looking tearfully on her little daughters. 

" No, all is not yet over," said the admiral harshly, 
pushing her towards another room ; " before we 
leave, the marriage must be consummated." 

" O just God! " cried the princess, in a voice torn 
with anguish, and she fell swooning to the floor. 

Renaud des Baux directed his ships towards 
Marseilles, where he hoped to get his son crowned 
Count of Provence, thanks to his strange marriage 
with Marie of Durazzo. But this cowardly act of 
treason was not to go unpunished. The wind rose 
with fury, and drove him towards Gaeta, where the 
queen and her husband had just arrived. Renaud 
bade his sailors keep in the open, threatening to 
throw any man into the sea who dared to disobey 
him. The crew at first murmured; soon cries of 
mutiny rose on every side. The admiral, seeing 
he was lost, passed from threats to prayers. But 
the princess, who had recovered her senses at the 
first thunder-clap, dragged herself up to the bridge 
and screamed for help. 



" Come to me, Louis ! Come, my barons ! Death 
to the cowardly wretches who have outraged my 

Louis of Tarentum jumped into a boat, followed 
by some ten of his bravest men, and, rowing rapidly, 
reached the ship. Then Marie told him her story 
in a word, and he turned upon the admiral a light- 
ning glance, as though defying him to make any 

" Wretch ! " cried the king, transfixing the traitor 
with his sword. 

Then he had the son loaded with chains, and also 
the unworthy priest who had served as accomplice 
to the admiral, who now expiated his odious crime 
by death. He took the princess and her children in 
his boat, and re-entered the harbour. 

The Hungarians, however, forcing one of the 
gates of Naples, marched triumphant to Castel 
Nuovo. But as they were crossing the Piazza delle 
Correggie, the Neapolitans perceived that the horses 
were so weak and the men so reduced by all they 
had undergone during the siege of Aversa that a 
mere puff of wind would dispense this phantom-like 
army. Changing from a state of panic to real 
daring, the people rushed upon their conquerors, 
and drove them outside the walls by which they had 
just entered. The sudden violent reaction broke 
the pride of the King of Hungary, and made him 



more tractable when Clement vi decided that he 
ought at last to interfere. A truce was concluded 
first from the month of February 1350 to the begin- 
ning of April 135 1, and the next year this was con- 
verted into a real peace, Joan paying to the King of 
Hungary the sum of 300,000 florins for the ex- 
penses of the war. 

After the Hungarians had gone, the pope sent 
a legate to crown Joan and Louis of Tarentum, and 
the 25th of May, the day of Pentecost, was chosen 
for the ceremony. All contemporary historians 
speak enthusiastically of this magnificent fete. Its 
details have been immortalised by Giotto in the 
frescoes of the church which from this day bore 
the name of L'Incoronata. A general amnesty was 
declared for all who had taken part in the late wars 
on either side, and the king and queen were greeted 
with shouts of joy as they solemnly paraded beneath 
the canopy, with all the barons of the kingdom in 
their train. 

But the day's joy was impaired by an accident 
which to a superstitious people seemed of evil au- 
gury. Louis of Tarentum, riding a richly capar- 
isoncfd horse, had just passed the Porta Petruccia, 
when some ladies looking out from a high window 
threw such a quantity of flowers at the king that 
his frightened steed reared and broke his rein. 
Louis could not hold him, so jumped lightly to the 



ground; but the crown fell at his feet and was 
broken into three pieces. On that very day the only 
daughter of Joan and Louis died. 

But the king not wishing to sadden the brilliant 
ceremony with show of mourning, kept up the 
jousts and tournaments for three days, and in mem- 
ory of his coronation instituted the order of Cheva- 
liers du Noeiid. But from that day begun with an 
omen so sad, his life was nothing but a series of 
disillusions. After sustaining w^ars in Sicily and 
Apulia, and quelling the insurrection of Louis of 
Durazzo, who ended his days in the castle of Ovo, 
Louis of Tarentum, worn out by a life of pleasure, 
his health undermined by slow disease, overwhelmed 
with domestic trouble, succumbed to an acute fever 
on the 5th of June 1362, at the age of forty-two. 
His body had not been laid in its royal tomb at 
Saint Domenico before several aspirants appeared 
to the hand of the queen. 

One was the Prince of Majorca, the handsome 
youth we have already spoken of: he bore her off 
triumphant over all rivals, including the son of the 
King of France. James of Aragon had one of those 
faces of melancholy sweetness which no woman can 
resist. Great troubles nobly borne had thrown as 
it were a funereal veil over his youthful days: 
more than thirteen years he had spent shut in an 
iron cage; when by the aid of a false key he had 



escaped from his dreadful prison, he wandered from 
one court to another seeking aid ; it is even said that 
he was reduced to the lowest degree of poverty 
and forced to beg his bread. The young stranger's 
beauty and his adventures combined had impressed 
both Joan and Marie at the court of Avignon. 
Marie especially had conceived a violent passion 
for him, all the more so for the efforts she made 
to conceal it in her own bosom. Ever since James 
of Aragon came to Naples, the unhappy princess, 
married with a dagger at her throat, had desired 
to purchase her liberty at the expense of crime. Fol- 
lowed by four armed men, she entered the prison 
where Robert des Baux was still suffering for a 
fault more his father's than his own. Marie stood 
before the prisoner, her arms crossed, her cheeks 
livid, her lips trembling. It was a terrible inter- 
view. This time it was she who threatened, the man 
who entreated pardon. Marie was deaf to his 
prayers, and the head of the luckless man fell 
bleeding at her feet, and her men threw the body 
into the sea. But God never allows a murder to 
go unpunished: James preferred the queen to her 
sister, and the widow of Charles of Durazzo gained 
nothing by her crime but the contempt of the man 
she loved, and a bitter remorse which brought her 
while yet young to the tomb. 

Joan was married in turn to James of Aragon, 



son of the King of Majorca, and to Otho of Bruns- 
wick, of the imperial family of Saxony. We will 
pass rapidly over these years, and come to the 
denouement of this history of crime and expiation. 
James, parted from his wife, continued his stormy 
career, after a long contest in Spain with Peter the 
Cruel, who had usurped his kingdom: about the 
end of the year 1375 he died near Navarre. Otho 
also could not escape the Divine vengeance which 
hung over the court of Naples, but to the end he 
valiantly shared the queen's fortunes. Joan, since 
she had no lawful heir, adopted her nephew, Charles 
de la Paix (so called after the peace of Trevisa). 
He was the son of Louis Duras, who after rebelling 
against Louis of Tarentum, had died miserably in 
the castle of Ovo. The child would have shared 
his father's fate had not Joan interceded to spare his 
life, loaded him with kindness, and married him to 
Margaret, the daughter of her sister Marie and her 
cousin Charles, who was put to death by the King 
of Hungary, 

Serious differences arose between the queen and 
one of her former subjects, Bartolommeo Prigiani, 
who had become pope under the name of Urban vi. 
Annoyed by the queen's opposition, the pope one 
day angrily said he would shut her up in a convent. 
Joan, to avenge the insult, openly favoured Clement 
VII, the anti-pope, and offered him a home in her 



own castle, when, pursued by Pope Urban's army, 
he had taken refuge at Fondi. But the people re- 
belled against Clement, and killed the Archbishop 
of Naples, who had helped to elect him : they broke 
the cross that was carried in procession before the 
anti-pope, and hardly allowed him time to make his 
escape on shipboard to Provence. Urban declared 
that Joan was now dethroned, and released her sub- 
jects from their oath of fidelity to her, bestowing 
the crown of Sicily and Jerusalem upon Charles 
de la Paix, who marched on Naples with 8000 Hun- 
garians. Joan, who could not believe in such base 
ingratitude, sent out his wife Margaret to meet her 
adopted son, though she might have kept her as a, 
hostage, and his two children, Ladislaus and Joan, 
who became later the second queen of that name. 
But the victorious army soon arrived at the gates 
of Naples, and Charles blockaded the queen in her 
castle, forgetting in his ingratitude that she had 
saved his life and loved him like a mother. 

Joan during the siege endured all the worst 
fatigues of war that any soldier has to bear. She 
saw her faithful friends fall around her wasted by 
hunger or decimated by sickness. When all food 
was exhausted, dead and decomposed bodies were 
thrown into the castle that they might pollute the 
air she breathed. Otho with his troops was kept at 
Aversa; Louis of Anjou, the brother of the King 



of France, whom she had named as her successor 
when she disinherited her nephew, never appeared 
to help her, and the Provengal ships from Clement 
VII were not due to arrive until all hope must be 
over. Joan asked for a truce of five days, prom- 
ising that, if Otho had not come to relieve her in 
that time, she would surrender the fortress. 

On the fifth day Otho's army appeared on the side 
of Piedigrotta. The fight was sharp on both sides, 
and Joan from the top of a tower could follow with 
her eyes the cloud of dust raised by her husband's 
horse in the thickest of the battle. The victory was 
long uncertain: at length the prince made so bold 
an onset upon the royal standard, in his eagerness 
to meet his enemy hand to hand, that he plunged 
into the very middle of the army, and found him- 
self pressed on every side. Covered with blood and 
sweat, his sword broken in his hand, he was forced 
to surrender. An hour later Charles was writing to 
his uncle, the King of Hungary, that Joan had fallen 
into his power, and he only awaited His Majesty's 
orders to decide her fate. 

It was a fine May morning: the queen was under 
guard in the castle of Aversa : Otho had obtained his 
liberty on condition of his quitting Naples, and 
Louis of Anjou had at last got together an army 
of 50,000 men and was marching in hot haste to 
the conquest of the kingdom. None of this news 



had reached the ears of Joan, who for some days 
had hved in complete isolation. The spring lav- 
ished all her glory on these enchanted plains, which 
have earned the name of the blessed and happy coun- 
try, campagna felice. The orange trees were cov- 
ered with sweet white blossoms, the cherries laden 
with ruby fruit, the olives with young emerald 
leaves, the pomegranate feathery with red bells ; the 
wild mulberry, the evergreen laurel, all the strong 
budding vegetation, needing no help from man to 
flourish in this spot privileged by Nature, made one 
great garden, here and there interrupted by little 
hidden runlets. It was a forgotten Eden in this 
corner of the world. Joan at her window was 
breathing in the perfumes of spring, and her eyes 
misty with tears rested on a bed of flowery verdure: 
a light breeze, keen and balmy, blew upon her burn- 
ing brow and offered a grateful coolness to her damp 
and fevered cheeks. Distant melodious voices, re- 
frains of well-known songs, were all that disturbed 
the silence of the poor little room, the solitary nest 
where a life was passing away in tears and repent- 
ance, a life the most brilliant and eventful of a cen- 
tury of splendour and unrest. 

The queen was slowly reviewing in her mind all 
her life since she ceased to be a child — fifty years of 
disillusionment and suffering. She thought first of 
her happy, peaceful childhood, her grandfather's 



blind affection, the pure joys of her days of inno- 
cence, the exciting games with her Httle sister and 
tall cousins. Then she shuddered at the earliest 
thought of marriage, the constraint, the loss of lib- 
erty, the bitter regrets ; she remembered with horror 
the deceitful words murmured in her ear, designed 
to sow the seeds of corruption and vice that were to 
poison her whole life. Then came the burning mem- 
ories of her first love, the treachery and desertion 
of Robert of Cabane, the moments of madness 
passed like a dream in the arms of Bertrand of Ar- 
tois — the whole drama up to its tragic denouement 
showed as in letters of fire on the dark background 
of her sombre thoughts. Then arose cries of an- 
guish in her soul, even as on that terrible fatal night 
she heard the voice of Andre asking mercy from 
his murderers. A long deadly silence followed his 
awful struggle, and the queen saw before her eyes 
the carts of infamy and the torture of her accom- 
plices. All the rest of this vision was persecution, 
flight, exile, remorse, punishments from God and 
curses from the world. Around her was a frightful 
solitude : husbands, lovers, kindred, friends, all were 
dead ; all she had loved or hated in the world were 
now no more; her joy, pain, desire, and hope had 
vanished for ever. The poor queen, unable to free 
herself from these visions of woe, violently tore 
herself away from the awful reverie, and kneeling 



at ^ prie-dieu, prayed with fervour. She was still 
beautiful, in spite of her extreme pallor; the noble 
lines of her face kept their pure oval; the fire of 
repentance in her great black eyes lit them up with 
superhuman brilliance, and the hope of pardon 
played in a heavenly smile upon her lips. 

Suddenly the door of the room where Joan was 
so earnestly praying opened with a dull sound : two 
Hungarian barons in armour entered and signed 
to the queen to follow them. Joan arose silently 
and obeyed; but a cry of pain went up from her 
heart when she recognised the place where both 
Andre and Charles of Durazzo had died a violent 
death. But she collected her forces, and asked 
calmly why she was brought hither. For all answer, 
one of the men showed her a cord of silk and 
gold . . . 

" May the will of a just God be done ! " cried 
Joan, and fell upon her knees. Some minutes later 
she had ceased to suffer. 

This was the third corpse that was thrown over 
the balcony at Aversa. 




FOR nearly one hundred years this curious 
problem has exercised the imagination of 
writers of fiction and of drama, and the patience 
of the learned in history. No subject is more 
obscure and elusive, and none more attractive to 
the general mind. It is a legend to the meaning of 
which none can find the key and yet in which every- 
one believes. Involuntarily we feel pity at the 
thought of that long captivity surrounded by so 
many extraordinary precautions, and when we 
dwell on the mystery which enveloped the captive, 
that pity is not only deepened but a kind of terror 
takes possession of us. It is very likely that if the 
name of the hero of this gloomy tale had been 
known at the time, he would now be forgotten. To 
give him a name would be to relegate him at once 
to the ranks of those commonplace offenders who 
quickly exhaust our interest and our tears. But 
this being, cut off from the world without leaving 
any discoverable trace, and whose disappearance 
apparently caused no void — this captive, distin- 
guished among captives by the unexampled nature 



of his punishment, a prison within a prison, as if 
the walls of a mere cell were not narrow enough, 
has come to typify for us the sum of all the human 
misery and suffering ever inflicted by unjust 

Who was the Man in the Mask? Was he rapt 
away into this silent seclusion from the luxury of a 
court, from the intrigues of diplomacy, from the 
scaffold of a traitor, from the clash of battle? 
What did he leave behind? Love, glory, or a 
throne? What did he regret when hope had fled? 
Did he pour forth imprecations and curses on his 
tortures and blaspheme against high Heaven, or did 
he with a sigh possess his soul in patience? 

The blows of fortune are differently received 
according to the different characters of those on 
whom they fall; and each one of us who in imagi- 
nation threads the subterranean passages leading to 
the cells of Pignerol and Exilles, and incarcerates 
himself in the lies Sainte-Marguerite and in the 
Bastille, the successive scenes of that long-pro- 
tracted agony will give the prisoner a form shaped 
by his own fancy and a grief proportioned to his 
own power of suffering. How we long to pierce 
the thoughts and feel the heart-beats and watch the 
trickling tears behind that machine-like exterior, 
that impassible mask! Our imagination is power- 
fully excited by the dumbness of that fate borne by 



one whose words never reached the outward air, 
whose thoughts could never be read on the hidden 
features ; by the isolation of forty years secured by 
twofold barriers of stone and iron, and she clothes 
the object of her contemplation in majestic splen- 
dour, connects the mystery which enveloped his 
existence with mighty interests, and persists in 
regarding the prisoner as sacrificed for the preser- 
vation of some dynastic secret involving the peace 
of the world and the stability of a throne. 

And when we calmly reflect on the whole case, 
do we feel that our first impulsively adopted opinion 
was wrong? Do we regard our belief as a poetical 
illusion? I do not think so; on the contrary, it 
seems to me that our good sense approves our 
fancy's flight. For what can be more natural than 
the conviction that the secret of the name, age, and 
features of the captive, which was so perse veringly 
kept through long years at the cost of so much 
care, was of vital importance to the Government? 
No ordinary human passion, such as anger, hate, 
or vengeance, has so dogged and enduring a char- 
acter; we feel that the measures taken were not the 
expression of a love of cruelty, for even supposing 
that Louis xiv were the most cruel of princes, 
would he not have chosen one of the thousand 
methods of torture ready to his hand before invent- 
ing a new and strange one? Moreover, why did 



he voluntarily burden himself with the obligation 
of surrounding a prisoner with such numberless 
precautions and such sleepless vigilance? Must 
he not have feared that in spite of it all the walls 
behind which he concealed the dread mystery 
would one day let in the light ? Was it not through 
his entire reign a source of unceasing anxiety? 
And yet he respected the life of the captive whom 
it was so difficult to hide, and the discovery of 
whose identity would have been so dangerous. It 
would have been so easy to bury the secret in an 
obscure grave, and yet the order was never given. 
Was this an expression of hate, anger, or any 
other passion? Certainly not; the conclusion we 
must come to in regard to the conduct of the king 
is that all the measures he took against the prisoner 
were dictated by purely political motives; that his 
conscience, while allowing him to do everything 
necessary to guard the secret, did not permit him 
to take the further step of putting an end to the 
days of an unfortunate man, who in all probability 
was guilty of no crime. 

Courtiers are seldom obsequious to the enemies 
of their master, so that we may regard the respect 
and consideration shown to the Man in the Mask 
by the governor Saint-Mars, and the minister 
Louvois, as a testimony, not only to his high rank, 
but also to his innocence. 



For my part, I make no pretensions to the erudi- 
tion of the bookworm, and I cannot read the history 
of the Man in the Iron ]\Iask without feeling my 
blood boil at the abominable abuse of power — the 
heinous crime of which he was the victim. 

A few years ago, M. Fournier and I, thinking the 
subject suitable for representation on the stage, 
undertook to read, before dramatising it, all the 
different versions of the affair which had been 
published up to that time. Since our piece was 
successfully performed at the Odeon two other 
versions have appeared: one was in the form of a 
letter addressed to the Historical Institute by M. 
Billiard, who upheld the conclusions arrived at by 
Soulavie, on whose narrative our play was founded ; 
the other was a work by the bibliophile Jacob, who 
followed a new system of inquiry, and whose book 
displayed the results of deep research and extensive 
reading. It did not, however, cause me to change 
my opinion. Even had it been published before I 
had written my drama, I should still have adhered 
to the idea as to the most probable solution of the 
problem which I had arrived at in 1831, not only 
because it was incontestably the most dramatic, but 
also because it is supported by those moral pre- 
sumptions which have such weight with us when 
considering a dark and doubtful question like the 
one before us. It will be objected, perhaps, that 



dramatic writers, in their love of the marvellous 
and the pathetic, neglect logic and strain after 
effect, their aim being to obtain the applause of 
the gallery rather than the approbation of the 
learned. But to this it may be replied that the 
learned on their part sacrifice a great deal to their 
love of dates, more or less exact; to their desire to 
elucidate some point which had hitherto been con- 
sidered obscure, and which their explanations do 
not always clear up; to the temptation to display 
their proficiency in the ingenious art of manipulat- 
ing facts and figures culled from a dozen musty 
volumes into one consistent whole. 

Our interest in this strange case of imprisonment 
arises, not alone from its completeness and dura- 
tion, but also from our uncertainty as to the motives 
from which it was inflicted. Where erudition alone 
cannot suf^ce; where bookworm after bookworm, 
disdaining the conjectures of his predecessors, 
comes forward with a new theory founded on some 
forgotten document he has hunted out, only to find 
himself in his turn pushed into oblivion by some 
follower in his track, we must turn for guidance 
to some other light than that of scholarship, espe- 
cially if, on strict investigation, we find that not 
one learned solution rests on a sound basis of fact. 

In the question before us, which, as we said 
before, is a double one, asking not only who was 



the Man in the Iron Mask, but why he was relent- 
lessly subjected to this torture till the moment of 
his death, what we need in order to restrain our 
fancy is mathematical demonstration, and not phil- 
osophical induction. 

While I do not go so far as to assert positively 
that Abbe Soulavie has once for all lifted the veil 
which hid the truth, I am yet persuaded that no 
other system of research is superior to his, and 
that no other suggested solution has so many pre- 
sumptions in its favour. I have not reached this 
firm conviction on account of the great and pro- 
lonsfed success of our drama, but because of the 
ease with which all the opinions adverse to those 
of the abbe may be annihilated by pitting them one 
against the other. 

The qualities that make for success being quite 
different in a novel and in a drama, I could easily 
have founded a romance on the fictitious loves of 
Buckingham and the queen, or on a supposed secret 
marriage between her and Cardinal Mazarin, call- 
ing to my aid a work by Saint-Mihiel which the 
bibliophile declares he has never read, although 
it is assuredly neither rare nor difficult of access. 
I might also have merely expanded my drama, 
restoring to the personages therein their true names 
and relative positions, both of which the exigencies 
of the stage had sometimes obliged me to alter, 



and while allowing them to fill the same parts, 
making them act more in accordance with historical 
fact. No fable however far-fetched, no grouping 
of characters however improbable, can, however, 
destroy the interest which the innumerable writings 
about the Iron Mask excite, although no two agree 
in details, and although each author and each wit- 
ness declares himself in possession of complete 
knowledge. No work, however mediocre, however 
worthless even, which has appeared on this subject 
has ever failed of success, not even, for example, 
the strange jumble of Chevalier de Mouhy, a kind 
of literary braggart, who was in the pay of Voltaire, 
and whose work was published anonymously in 
1746 by Pierre de Hondt of The Hague. It is 
divided into six short parts, and bears the title, 
Le Masque de Fer, oil les Aventures admirables du 
Pere et du Fits. An absurd romance by Regnault- 
Warin, and one at least equally absurd by Madame 
Guenard, met with a like favourable reception. In 
writing for the theatre, an author must choose one 
view of a dramatic situation to the exclusion of 
all others, and in following out this central idea 
is obliged by the inexorable laws of logic to push 
aside everything that interferes with its develop- 
ment. A book, on the contrary, is written to be 
discussed; it brings under the notice of the reader 
all the evidence produced at a trial which has as yet 



not reached a definite conclusion, and which in the 
case before us will never reach it, unless, which is 
most improbable, some lucky chance should lead 
to some new discovery. 

The first mention of the prisoner is to be found 
in the Mcnioires secrets pour servir a I'Histoire de 
Perse in one i2mo volume, by an anonymous 
author, published by the Compagnie des Libraires 
Assocics d' Amsterdam in 1745. 

" Not having any other purpose," says the author 
'(page 20, 2nd edit.), "than to relate facts zvhich 
are not knoijcn, or about zvhich no one has zuritten, 
or about "which it is impossible to be silent, we refer 
at once to a fact which has hitherto almost escaped 
notice concerning Prince Giafer (Louis de Bour- 
bon, Comte de Vermandois, son of Louis xiv and 
Mademoiselle de la Valliere), who was visited by 
Ali-Momajou (the Due d'Orleans, the regent) in 
the fortress of Ispahan (the Bastille), in which he 
had been imprisoned for several years. This visit 
had probably no other motive than to make sure 
that this prince was really alive, he having been 
reputed dead of the plague for over thirty years, 
and his obsequies having been celebrated in presence 
of an entire army. 

" Cha-Abas (Louis xiv) had a legitimate son, 
Sephi-Mirza (Louis, Dauphin of France), and a 



natural son, Giafer. These two princes, as dis- 
similar in character as in birth, were always rivals 
and always at enmity with each other. One day 
Giafer so far forgot himself as to strike Sephi- 
Mirza. Cha-Abas having heard of the insult 
offered to the heir to the throne, assembled his 
most trusted councillors, and laid the conduct of the 
culprit before them — conduct which, according to 
the law of the country, was punishable with death, 
an opinion in which they all agreed. One of the 
councillors, however, sympathising more than the 
others with the distress of Cha-Abas, suggested that 
Giafer should be sent to the army, which was then 
on the frontiers of Feldrun (Flanders), and that 
his death from plague should be given out a few 
days after his arrival. Then, while the whole 
army was celebrating his obsequies, he should be 
carried off by night, in the greatest secrecy, to the 
stronghold on the isle of Ormus ( Sainte-Margue- 
rite), and there imprisoned for life. 

" This course was adopted, and carried out by 
faithful and discreet agents. The prince, whose 
premature death was mourned by the army, being 
carried by unfrequented roads to the isle of Ormus, 
was placed in the custody of the commandant of 
the island, who had received orders beforehand 
not to allow any person whatever to see the 
prisoner. A single servant who was in possession 



of the secret was killed by the escort on the journey, 
and his face so disfigured by dagger thrusts that he 
could not be recognised. 

" The commandant treated his prisoner with the 
most profound respect; he waited on him at meals 
himself, taking the dishes from the cooks at the 
door of the apartment, none of whom ever looked 
on the face of Giafer. One day it occurred to the 
prince to scratch his name on the back of a plate 
with his knife. One of the servants into whose 
hands the plate fell ran with it at once to the com- 
mandant, hoping he would be pleased and reward 
the bearer; but the unfortunate man was greatly 
mistaken, for he was at once made away with, that 
his knowledge of such an important secret might 
be buried with himself. 

" Giafer remained several years in the castle 
Ormus, and was then transported to the fortress 
of Ispahan; the commandant of Ormus having 
received the governorship of Ispahan as a reward 
for faithful service. 

"At Ispahan, as at Ormus, whenever it was 
necessary on account of illness or any other cause 
to allow anyone to approach the prince, he was 
always masked; and several trustworthy persons 
have asserted that they had seen the masked 
prisoner often, and had noticed that he used the 
familiar ' tu ' when addressing the governor, while 



the latter showed his charge the greatest respect. 
" As Giafer survived Cha-Abas and Sephi-Mirza 
by many years, it may be asked why he was never 
set at liberty; but it must be remembered it would 
have been impossible to restore a prince to his rank 
and dignities whose tomb actually existed, and of 
whose burial there were not only living witnesses 
but documentary proofs, the authenticity of which 
it would have been useless to deny, so firm was the 
belief, which has lasted down to the present day, that 
Giafer died of the plague in camp when with the 
army on the frontiers of Flanders. Ali-Homajou 
died shortly after the visit he paid to Giafer." 

This version of the story, which is the original 
source of all the controversy on the subject, was 
at first generally received as true. On a critical 
examination it fitted in very well with certain events 
which took place in the reign of Louis xiv. 

The Comte de Vermandois had in fact left the 
court for the camp very soon after his reappearance 
there, for he had been banished by the king from 
his presence some time before for having, in corn- 
pany with several young nobles, indulged in the 
most reprehensible excesses. 

" The king," says Mademoiselle de Montpensier 
(Memoires de Mademoiselle de Montpensier, vol. 
xliii. p. 474, of Memoires Relatifs a I'Histoire de 



France, Second Series, published by Petitot), "had 
not been satisfied with his conduct and refused to 
see him. The young prince had caused his mother 
much sorrow, but had been so well lectured that it 
was believed that he had at last turned over a new 
leaf." He only remained four days at court, 
reached the camp before Courtrai early in Novem- 
ber 1683, was taken ill on the evening of the 12th, 
and died on the 19th of the same month of a malig- 
nant fever. Mademoiselle de Montpensier says that 
the Comte de Vermandois " fell ill from drink." 

There are, of course, objections of all kinds to 
this theory. 

For if, during the four days the comte was at 
court, he had struck the dauphin, everyone would 
have heard of the monstrous crime, and yet it is 
nowliere spoken of, except in the Memoires de 
Perse. What renders the story of the blow still 
more improbable is the difference in age between the 
two princes. The dauphin, who already had a son, 
the Due de Bourgogne, more than a year old, was 
born the ist November 1661, and was therefore six 
years older than the Comte de Vermandois. But 
the most complete answer to the tale is to be found 
in a letter written by Barbezieux to Saint-Mars, 
dated the 13th August 1691 : — 

" When you have any information to send me 


relative to the prisoner who has been in your charge 
for twenty years, I most earnestly enjoin on you to 
take the same precautions as when you write to M. 
de Louvois." 

The Comte de Vermandois, the official registra- 
tion of whose death bears the date 1685, cannot 
have been twenty years a prisoner in 1691. 

Six years after the Man in the Mask had been 
thus delivered over to the curiosity of the public, 
the Siecle de Louis XIV (2 vols, octavo, Berlin, 
1 751) was published by Voltaire under the pseu- 
donym of M. de Francheville. Everyone turned to 
this work, which had been long expected, for details 
relating to the mysterious prisoner about whom 
everyone was talking. 

Voltaire ventured at length to speak more openly 
of the prisoner than anyone had hitherto done, and 
to treat as a matter of history " an event long 
ignored by all historians." (vol. ii. p. 11, ist edition, 
chap. XXV.). He assigned an approximate date to 
the beginning of this captivity, " some months 
after the death of Cardinal Mazarin " (1661); he 
gave a description of the prisoner, who according 
to him was " young and dark-complexioned ; his 
figure was above the middle height and well pro- 
portioned ; his features were exceedingly handsome, 
and his bearing was noble. When he spoke his 



voice inspired interest; he never complained of his 
lot, and gave no hint as to his rank.'' Nor was the 
mask forgotten : " The part which covered the 
chin was furnished with steel springs, which 
allowed the prisoner to eat without uncovering his 
face." And, lastly, he fixed the date of the death 
of the nameless captive, who " was buried," he 
says, " in 1704, by night, in the parish church of 

Voltaire's narrative coincided with the account 
given in the Memoires de Perse, save for the omis- 
sion of the incident which, according to the 
Memoires, led in the first instance to the imprison- 
ment of Giafer. " The prisoner," says Voltaire, 
" was sent to the lies Sainte-Marguerite, and after- 
wards to the Bastille, in charge of a trusty official; 
he wore his mask on the journey, and his escort had 
orders to shoot him if he took it off. The Marquis 
de Louvois visited him while he was on the islands, 
and when speaking to him stood all the time in a 
respectful attitude. The prisoner was removed to 
the Bastille in 1690, where he was lodged as com- 
fortably as could be managed in that building; he 
was supplied with everything he asked for, espe- 
cially with the finest linen and the costliest lace, in 
both of which his taste was perfect ; he had a guitar 
to play on, his table was excellent, and the governor 
rarely sat in his presence," 



Voltaire added a few further details which had 
been given him by M. de Bernaville, the successor 
of M. de Saint-Mars, and by an old physician of 
the Bastille who had attended the prisoner when- 
ever his health required a doctor, but who had 
never seen his face, although he had " often seen 
his tongue and his body." He also asserted that 
M. de Chamillart was the last minister who was in 
the secret, and that when his son-in-law. Marshal 
de la Feuillade, besought him on his knees, de 
Chamillart being on his deathbed, to tell him the 
name of the Man in the Iron Mask, the minister 
replied that he was under a solemn oath never to 
reveal the secret, it being an affair of state. To all 
these details, which the marshal acknowledges to 
be correct, Voltaire adds a remarkable note: 
" What increases our wonder is, that when the 
unknown captive was sent to the lies Sainte- 
Marguerite no personage of note disappeared from 
the European stage." 

The story of the Comte de Vermandois and the 
blow was treated as an absurd and romantic inven- 
tion, which does not even attempt to keep within the 
bounds of the possible, by Baron C. (according to 
P. Marchand, Baron Crunyngen) in a letter 
inserted in the Bibliotheque raisonnee des Ouvrages 
des Savants de V Europe, June 1745. The discus- 
sion was revived somewhat later, however, and a 



few Dutch scholars were supposed to be responsible 
for a new theory founded on history; the founda- 
tions proving somewhat shaky, however, — a quality 
which it shares, we must say, with all the other 
theories which have ever been advanced. 

According to this new theory, the masked pris- 
oner was a young foreign nobleman, groom of the 
chambers to Anne of Austria, and the real father 
of Louis XIV. This anecdote appears first in a 
duodecimo volume printed by Pierre Marteau at 
Cologne in 1692, and which bears the title, The 
Loves of Anne of Austria, Consort of Louis XIII, 
with M. le C. D. R., the Real Father of Louis 
XIV, King of France; being a Minute Account of 
the Measures taken to give an Heir to the Throne 
of France, the Influences at Work to bring this to 
pass, and the Denoument of the Comedy. 

This libel ran through five editions, bearing date 
successively, 1692, 1693, 1696, 1722, and 1738. 
In the title of the edition of 1696 the words " Car- 
dinal de Richelieu " are inserted in place of the 
initials " C. D, R.," but that this is only a printer's 
error everyone who reads the work will perceive. 
Some have thought the three letters stood for 
Comte de Riviere, others for Comte de Rochefort, 
whose Memoires compiled by Sandras de Courtilz 
supply these initials. The author of the book was 
an Orange writer in the pay of William iii, and its 



object was, he says, " to unveil the great mystery 
of iniquity which hid the true origin of Louis xiv." 
He goes on to remark that " the knowledge of this 
fraud, although comparatively rare outside France, 
was widely spread within her borders. The well- 
known coldness of Louis xiii, the extraordinary 
birth of Louis-Dieudonne, so called because he was 
born in the twenty-third year of a childless mar- 
riage, and several other remarkable circumstances 
connected with the birth, all point clearly to a 
father other than the prince, who with great 
effrontery is passed off by his adherents as such. 
The famous barricades of Paris, and the organised 
revolt led by distinguished men against Louis xiv 
on his accession to the throne, proclaimed aloud 
the king's illegitimacy, so that it rang through the 
country; and as the accusation had reason on its 
side, hardly anyone doubted its truth." 

We give below a short abstract of the narrative, 
the plot of which is rather skilfully constructed: — 

" Cardinal Richelieu, looking with satisfied pride 
at the love of Gaston, Due d'Orleans, brother of the 
king, for his niece Parisiatis (Madame de Com- 
balet), formed the plan of uniting the young couple 
in marriage. Gaston taking the suggestion as an 
insult, struck the cardinal. Pere Joseph then tried 
to gain the cardinal's consent and that of his niece 



to an attempt to deprive Gaston of the throne, 
which the childless marriage of Louis xiii seemed 
to assure him. A young man, the C. D. R. of the 
book, was introduced into Anne of Austria's room, 
who though a wife in name had long been a widow 
in reality. She defended herself but feebly, and on 
seeing the cardinal next day said to him, "Well, 
you have had your wicked will ; but take good care, 
sir cardinal, that I may find above the mercy and 
goodness which you have tried by many pious 
sophistries to convince me is awaiting me. Watch 
over my soul, I charge you, for I have yielded ! ' 
The queen having given herself up to love for some 
time, the joyful news that she would soon become 
a mother began to spread over the kingdom. In 
this manner was born Louis xiv^ the putative son 
of Louis XIII. If this instalment of the tale be 
favourably received, says the pamphleteer, the 
sequel will soon follow, in which the sad fate of 
C. D. R. will be related, who was made to pay 
dearly for his short-lived pleasure." 

Although the first part was a great success, the 
promised sequel never appeared. It must be ad- 
mitted that such a story, though it never convinced a 
single person of the illegitimacy of Louis xiv, was 
an excellent prologue to the tale of the unfortunate 
lot of the Man in the Iron Mask, and increased 

1977 Dumas— \ol. U— C 


the interest and curiosity with which that singular 
historical mystery was regarded. But the views 
of the Dutch scholars thus set forth met with little 
credence, and were soon forgotten in a new 

The third historian to write about the prisoner 
• of the lies Sainte-Marguerite was Lagrange-Chan- 
cel. He was just twenty-nine years of age when, 
excited by Freron's hatred of Voltaire, he addressed 
a letter from his country place, Antoniat, in Peri- 
gord, to the Annee Litteraire (vol. iii. p. i88), 
demolishing the theory advanced in the Siecle de 
Louis XIV, and giving facts which he had collected 
whilst himself imprisoned in the same place as the 
unknown prisoner twenty years later. 

" My detention in the Iles-Saint-Marguerite," 
says Lagrange-Chancel, " brought many things to 
my knowledge which a more painstaking historian 
than M. de Voltaire would have taken the trouble 
to find out ; for at the time when I was taken to the 
islands the imprisonment of the Man in the Iron 
Mask was no longer regarded as a state secret. 
This extraordinary event, which M. de Voltaire 
places in 1662, a few months after the death of 
Cardinal Mazarin, did not take place till 1669, eight 
years after the death of His Eminence. M. de La 
Motte-Guerin, commandant of the islands in my 



time, assured me that the prisoner was the Due de 
Beaufort, who was reported killed at the siege of 
Candia, but whose body had never been recovered, 
as all the narratives of that event agree in stating. 
He also told me that M. de Saint-]\Iars, who suc- 
ceeded Pignerol as governor of the islands, showed 
great consideration for the prisoner, that he waited 
on him at table, that the service was of silver, and 
that the clothes supplied to the prisoner were as 
costly as he desired; that when he was ill and in 
need of a physician or surgeon, he was obliged un- 
der pain of death to wear his mask in their pres- 
ence, but that when he was alone he was permitted 
to pull out the hairs of his beard with steel tweezers, 
which were kept bright and polished. I saw a pair 
of these which had been actually used for this pur- 
pose in the possession of M. de Formanoir, nephew 
of Saint-]\Iars, and lieutenant of a Free Company 
raised for the purpose of guarding the prisoners. 
Several persons told me that when Saint-Mars, who 
had been placed over the Bastille, conducted his 
charge thither, the latter was heard to say behind 
his iron mask, ' Has the king designs on my life? ' 
To which Saint-Mars replied, * No, my prince ; your 
life is safe : you must only let yourself be guided.' 

" I also learned from a man called Dubuisson, 
cashier to the well-known Samuel Bernard, who, 
having been imprisoned for some years in the Bas- 



tille, was removed to the lies Sainte-Marguerite, 
where he was confined along with some others in a 
room exactly over the one occupied by the unknown 
prisoner. He told me that they were able to com- 
municate with him by means of the flue of the chim- 
ney, but on asking him why he persisted in not re- 
vealing his name and the cause of his imprisonment, 
he replied that such an avowal would be fatal 
not only to him but to those to whom he made 

" Whether it were so or not, to-day the name and 
rank of this political victim are secrets the preserva- 
tion of which is no longer necessary to the State, 
and I have thought that to tell the public what I 
know would cut short the long chain of circum- 
stances which everyone was forging according to 
his fancy, instigated thereto by an author whose gift 
of relating the most impossible events in such a 
manner as to make them seem true has won for all 
his writings such success — even for his Vie de 
Charles XII." 

This theory, according to Jacob, is more probable 
than any of the others. 

" Beginning with the year 1664," he says, " the 
Due de Beaufort had by his insubordination and 
levity endangered the success of several maritime 
expeditions. In October 1666 Louis xiv remon- 



strated with him with much tact, begging him to 
try to make himself more and more capable in the 
service of his king by cultivating the talents with 
which he was endowed, and ridding himself of the 
faults which spoilt his conduct. * I do not doubt,' 
he concludes, * that you will be all the more grateful 
to me for this mark of my benevolence towards you, 
when you reflect how few kings have ever shown 
their goodwill in a similar manner' " (Oeuvres de 
Louis XIV, vol. V. p. 388). Several calamities in 
the royal navy are known to have been brought 
about by the Due de Beaufort. M. Eugene Sue, in 
his Hist aire de la Marine, which is full of new and 
curious information, has drawn a very good picture 
of the position of the " roi des halles," the " king 
of the markets," in regard to Colbert and Louis 
XIV. Colbert wished to direct all the manoeuvres of 
the fleet from his study, while it was commanded 
by the naval grandmaster in the capricious manner 
which might be expected from his factious character 
and love of bluster (Eugene Sue, vol. i.. Pieces 
Justiiicatives). In 1699 Louis xiv sent the Due de 
Beaufort to the relief of Candia, which the Turks 
were besieging. Seven hours after his arrival Beau- 
fort was killed in a sortie. The Due de Navailles, 
who shared with him the command of the French 
squadron, simply reported his death as follows: 
" He met a body of Turks who were pressing our 



troops hard : placing himself at the head of the lat- 
ter, he fought valiantly, but at length his soldiers 
abandoned him, and we have not been able to learn 
his fate " {Memoir es du Due de Navailles, book iv. 


The report of his death spread rapidly through 
France and Italy ; magnificent funeral services were 
held in Paris, Rome, and Venice, and funeral ora- 
tions delivered. Nevertheless, many believed that 
he would one day reappear, as his body had never 
been recovered, 

Guy Patin mentions this belief, which he did not 
share, in two of his letters: — 

" Several wagers have been laid that M. de Beau- 
fort is not dead! utinam!" (Guy Patin, Sep- 
tember 26, 1669). 

" It is said that M. de Vivonne has been granted 
by commission the post of vice-admiral of France 
for twenty years; but there are many who believe 
that the Due de Beaufort is not dead, but impris- 
oned in some Turkish island. Believe this who may, 
/ don't; he is really dead, and the last thing I 
should desire would be to be as dead as he " {Ibid., 
January 14, 1670). 

The following are the objections to this theory: — 
" In several narratives written by eye-witnesses 


of the siege of Candia," says Jacob, " it is related 
that the Turks, according to their custom, despoiled 
the body and cut off the head of the Due de Beau- 
fort on the field of battle, and that the latter was 
afterwards exhibited at Constantinople; and this 
may account for some of the details given by San- 
dras de Courtilz in his Mcmoires dti Marquis de 
Monthrun and his Mcmoires d'Artagnan, for one 
can easily imagine that the naked, headless body 
might escape recognition. M. Eugene Sue, in his 
Histoire de la Marine (vol. ii. chap. 6), had adopted 
this view, which coincides with the accounts left by 
Philibert de Jarry and the Marquis de Ville, the 
MSS. of whose letters and Mcmoires are to be 
found in the Bibliotheque du Roi. 

" In the first volume of the Histoire de la Deten- 
tion des Philosophes ct dcs Gens de Lettrcs a la Bas- 
tille, etc., we find the following passage: — 

" Without dwelling on the difficulty and danger 
of an abduction, which an Ottoman scimitar might 
any day during this memorable siege render un- 
necessary, we shall restrict ourselves to declaring 
positively that the correspondence of Saint-Mars 
from 1669 to 1680 gives us no ground for sup- 
posing that the governor of Pignerol had any great 
prisoner of state in his charge during that period 
of time, except Fouquet and Lauzun.' " 



While we profess no blind faith in the conclusions 
arrived at by the learned critic, we would yet add 
to the considerations on which he relies another, 
viz. that it is most improbable that Louis xiv should 
ever have considered it necessary to take such rigor- 
ous measures against the Due de Beaufort. Trucu- 
lent and self-confident as he was, he never acted 
against the royal authority in such a manner as to 
oblige the king to strike him down in secret; and 
it is difficult to believe that Louis xiv, peaceably 
seated on his throne, with all the enemies of his 
minority under his feet, should have revenged him- 
self on the duke as an old Frondeur. 

The critic calls our attention to another fact also 
adverse to the theory under consideration. The 
Man in the Iron Mask loved fine linen and rich lace, 
he was reserved in character and possessed of ex- 
treme refinement, and none of this suits the por- 
traits of the roi dcs hallcs which contemporary his- 
torians have drawn. 

Regarding the anagram of the name Marchi- 
ali (the name under which the death of the 
prisoner was registered), hie amiral, as a proof, 
we cannot think that the gaolers of Pignerol 
amused themselves in propounding conundrums 
to exercise the keen intellect of their contempora- 
ries; and moreover the same anagram would apply 
equally well to the Count of Vermandois, who was 



made admiral when only twenty-two months old. 
Abbe Papon, in his roamings through Provence, 
paid a visit to the prison in which the Iron Mask 
was confined, and thus speaks : — 

" It was to the lies Sainte-Marguerite that the 
famous prisoner with the iron mask whose name has 
never been discovered, was transported at the end 
of the last century; very few of those attached to 
his service were allowed to speak to him. One day, 
as M. de Saint- ]\Iars was conversing with him, 
standing outside his door, in a kind of corridor, 
so as to be able to see from a distance everyone who 
approached, the son of one of the governor's 
friends, hearing the voices, came up; Saint-Mars 
quickly closed the door of the room, and, rushing 
to meet the young man, asked him with an air of 
great anxiety if he had overheard anything that was 
said. Having convinced himself that he had heard 
nothing, the governor sent the young man away 
the same day, and wrote to the father that the ad- 
venture was like to have cost the son dear, and that 
he had sent him back to his home to prevent any fur- 
ther imprudence. 

" I was curious enough to visit the room in which 
the unfortunate man was imprisoned, on the 2nd 
of February i77cS. It is lighted by one window to 
the north, overlooking the sea, about fifteen feet 



above the terrace where the sentries paced to and 
fro. This window was pierced through a very thick 
wall and the embrasure barricaded by three iron 
bars, thus separating the prisoner from the sentries 
by a distance of over two fathoms. I found an 
officer of the Free Company in the fortress who was 
nigh on fourscore years old; he told me that his 
father, who had belonged to the same Company, had 
often related to him how a friar had seen something 
white floating on the water under the prisoner's 
window. On being fished out and carried to M. de 
Saint-Mars, it proved to be a shirt of very fine 
material, loosely folded together, and covered with 
writing from end to end. M. de Saint-Mars spread 
it out and read a few words, then turning to the 
friar who had brought it he asked him in an embar- 
rassed manner if he had been led by curiosity to 
read any of the writing. The friar protested re- 
peatedly that he had not read a line, but neverthe- 
less he was found dead in bed two days later. This 
incident was told so often to my Informant by his 
father and by the chaplain of the fort of that time 
that he regarded it as incontestably true. The fol- 
lowing fact also appears to me to be equally well 
established by the testimony of many witnesses. I 
collected all the evidence I could on the spot, and 
also in the Lerins monastery, where the tradition 
is preserved. 



" A female attendant being wanted for the pris- 
oner, a woman of the village of Mongin offered 
herself for the place, being under the impression 
that she would thus be able to make her children's 
fortune ; but on being told that she would not only 
never be allowed to see her children again, but 
would be cut off from the rest of the world as well, 
she refused to be shut up with a prisoner whom it cost 
so much to serve. I may mention here that at the 
two outer angles of the wall of the fort which faced 
the sea two sentries were placed, with orders to fire 
on any boat which approached within a certain dis- 

" The prisoner's personal attendant died in the 
lies Sainte-Marguerite. The brother of the officer 
whom I mentioned above was partly in the confi- 
dence of AI. de Saint-Mars, and he often told how 
he was summoned to the prison once at midnight 
and ordered to remove a corpse, and that he carried 
it on his shoulders to the burial-place, feeling 
certain it was the prisoner who was dead; but it 
was only his servant, and it was then that an ef- 
fort was made to supply his place by a female 

Abbe Papon gives some curious details, hitherto 
unknown to the public, but as he mentions no names 
his narrative cannot be considered as evidence. 



Voltaire never replied to Lagrange-Chancel, who 
died the same year in which his letter was published. 
Freron desiring to revenge himself for the scathing 
portrait which Voltaire had drawn of him in the 
Ecossaise, called to his assistance a more redoubt- 
able adversary than Lagrange-Chancel. Sainte- 
Foix had brought to the front a brand new theory, 
founded on a passage by Hume in an article in the 
Annee Litteraire (1768, vol. iv.), in which he main- 
tained that the Man in the Iron Mask was the Duke 
of Monmouth, a natural son of Charles 11, who was 
found guilty of high treason and beheaded in Lon- 
don on the 15th July 1685. 

This is what the English historian says : — 

" It was commonly reported in London that the 
Duke of Monmouth's life had been saved, one of 
his adherents who bore a striking resemblance to 
the duke having consented to die in his stead, while 
the real culprit was secretly carried off to France, 
there to undergo a lifelong imprisonment." 

The great affection which the English felt for the 
Duke of Monmouth, and his own conviction that 
the people only needed a leader to induce them to 
shake off the yoke of James 11^ led him to undertake 
an enterprise which might possibly have succeeded 
had it been carried out with prudence. He landed 



at Lyme, in Dorset, with only one hundred and 
twenty men ; six thousand soon gathered round his 
standard; a few towns declared in his favour; he 
caused himself to be proclaimed king, affirming that 
he was born in wedlock, and that he possessed the 
proofs of the secret marriage of Charles ii and 
Lucy Walters, his mother. He met the Royalists 
on the battlefield, and victory seemed to be on his 
side, when just at the decisive moment his ammuni- 
tion ran short. Lord Gray, who commanded the 
cavalry, beat a cowardly retreat, the unfortunate 
Monmouth was taken prisoner, brought to London, 
and beheaded. 

The details published in the Siecle dc Louis XIV 
as to the personal appearance of the masked pris- 
oner might have been taken as a description of Mon- 
mouth, who possessed great physical beauty. 
Sainte-Foix had collected every scrap of evidence 
in favour of his solution of the mystery, making 
use even of the following passage from an anony- 
mous romance called The Loves of Charles II and 
James II, Kings of England: — 

" The night of the pretended execution of the 
Duke of Monmouth, the king, attended by three 
men, came to the Tower and summoned the duke 
to his presence. A kind of loose cowl was thrown 
over his head, and he was put into a carriage, into 



which the king and his attendants also got, and 
was driven away." 

Sainte-Foix also referred to the alleged visit of 
Saunders, confessor to James ii, paid to the Duchess 
of Portsmouth after the death of that monarch, 
when the duchess took occasion to say that she 
could never forgive King James for consenting to 
Monmouth's execution, in spite of the oath he had 
taken on the sacred elements at the deathbed of 
Charles ii that he would never take his natural 
brother's life, even in case of rebellion. To this 
the priest replied quickly, "The king kept his 

Hume also records this solemn oath, but we can- 
not say that all the historians agree on this point. 
The Universal History by Guthrie and Gray, and 
the Histoire d'Augleterre by Rapin, Thoyras, and 
de Barrow, do not mention it. 

" Further," wrote Sainte-Foix, " an English sur- 
geon called Nelaton, who frequented the Cafe Pro- 
cope, much affected by men of letters, often related 
that during the time he was senior apprentice to 
a surgeon who lived near the Porte Saint-Antoine, 
he was once taken to the Bastille to bleed a prisoner. 
He was conducted to this prisoner's room by the 
governor himself, and found the patient suffering 
from violent headache. He spoke with an English 



accent, wore a gold-flowered dressing-gown of 
black and orange, and had his face covered by a 
napkin knotted behind his head." 

This story does not hold water : it would be diffi- 
cult to fomi a mask out of a napkin; the Bastille 
had a resident surgeon of its own as well as a 
physician and apothecary; no one could gain access 
to a prisoner without a written order from a min- 
ister, even the Viaticum could only be introduced 
by the express permission of the lieutenant of police. 

This theory met at first with no objections, and 
seemed to be going to oust all the others, thanks, 
perhaps, to the combative and restive character of 
its promulgator, who bore criticism badly, and whom 
no one cared to incense, his sword being even more 
redoubtable than his pen. 

It was known that when Saint-Mars journeyed 
with his prisoner to the Bastille, they had put up 
on the way at Palteau, in Champagne, a property 
belonging to the governor. Freron therefore ad- 
dressed himself to a grand-nephew of Saint-Mars, 
who had inherited this estate, asking if he could give 
him any information about this visit. The follow- 
ing reply appeared in the Annee Litteraire (June 
1768) :- 

" As it appears from the letter of M. de Sainte- 
Foix from which you quote that the Man in the Iron 



Mask still exercises the fancy of your journalists, 
I am willing to tell you all I know about the pris- 
oner. He was known in the islands of Sainte- 
Marguerite and at the Bastille as ' La Tour.' The 
governor and all the other officials showed him 
great respect, and supplied him with everything he 
asked for that could be granted to a prisoner. He 
often took exercise in the yard of the prison, but 
never without his mask on. It was not till the Steele 
of M. de Voltaire appeared that I learned that the 
mask was of iron and furnished with springs; it 
may be that the circumstance was overlooked, but 
he never wore it except when taking the air, or 
when he had to appear before a stranger. 

" M. de Blainvilliers, an infantry officer who was 
acquainted with M. de Saint-Mars both at Pignerol 
and Sainte-Marguerite, has often told me that the 
lot of * La Tour ' greatly excited his curiosity, and 
that he had once borrowed the clothes and arms 
of a soldier whose turn it was to be sentry on the 
terrace under the prisoner's window at Sainte-Mar- 
guerite, and undertaken the duty himself ; that he 
had seen the prisoner distinctly, without his mask; 
that his face was white, that he was tall and well 
proportioned, except that his ankles were too thick, 
and that his hair was white, although he appeared 
to be still in the prime of life. He passed the whole 
of the night in question pacing to and fro in his 



room. Blainvilliers added that he was ahvays 
dressed in brown, that he had plenty of fine linen 
and books, that the governor and the other officers 
always stood uncovered in his presence till he gave 
tliem leave to cover and sit down, and that they 
often bore him company at table. 

" In 1698 M. de Saint-Mars was promoted from 
the governorship of the lies Sainte-Marguerite to 
that of the Bastille. In moving thither, accompan- 
ied by his prisoner, he made his estate of Palteau 
a halting-place. The masked man arrived in a lit- 
ter which preceded that of M. de Saint-]\Iars, and 
several mounted men rode beside it. The peasants 
were assembled to greet their liege lord. M. de 
Saint-Mars dined with his prisoner, who sat with 
his back to the dining-room windows, which looked 
out on the court. None of the peasants whom I 
have questioned were able to see whether the man 
kept his mask on while eating, but they all noticed 
that M. de Saint-Mars, who sat opposite to his 
charge, laid two pistols beside his plate; that only 
one footman waited at table, who went into the 
antechamber to change the plates and dishes, always 
carefully closing the dining-room door behind him. 
When the prisoner crossed the courtyard his face 
was covered with a black mask, but the peasants 
could see his lips and teeth, and remarked that he 
was tall, and had white hair. M. de Saint-Mars 



slept in a bed placed beside the prisoner's. M. de 
Blainvilliers told me also that ' as soon as he was 
dead, which happened in 1704, he was buried at 
Saint- Paul's,' and that ' the coffin was filled with 
substances which would rapidly consume the body.* 
He added, ' I never heard that the masked man 
spoke with an English accent.* " 

Sainte-Foix proved the story related by M. de 
Blainvilliers to be little worthy of belief, showing 
by a circumstance mentioned in the letter that the 
imprisoned man could not be the Due de Beaufort; 
witness the epigram of Madame de Choisy, " M. de 
Beaufort longs to bite and can't," whereas the 
peasants had seen the prisoner's teeth through his 
mask. It appeared as if the theory of Sainte-Foix 
were going to stand, when a Jesuit father, named 
Griffet, who was confessor at the Bastille, devoted 
chapter xiii. of his Traite des differ entes Sortcs de 
Preuves qui servent a ctablir la Verite dans I'His' 
toirc (i2mo, Liege, 1769) to the consideration of 
the Iron Mask. He was the first to quote an authen- 
tic document which certifies that the Man in the 
Iron Mask about whom there was so much disput- 
ing really existed. This was the written journal of 
M. du Jonca, King's Lieutenant in the Bastille in 
1698, from which Pere Griffet took the following 
passage : — 



" On Thursday, September the 8th, 1698, at three 
o'clock in the afternoon, M. de Saint-Mars, the new 
governor of the Bastille, entered upon his duties. 
He arrived from the islands of Sainte-Marguerite, 
bringing with him in a litter a prisoner whose name 
is a secret, and whom he had had under his charge 
there, and at Pignerol. This prisoner, who was 
always masked, was at first placed in the Bassin- 
iere tower, where he remained until the evening. 
At nine o'clock p.m. I took him to the third room 
of the Bertaudiere tower, which I had had already 
furnished before his arrival with all needful articles, 
having received orders to do so from M. de Saint- 
Mars. While I was showing him the way to his 
room, I was accompanied by M. Rosarges, who had 
also arrived along with M. de Saint-Mars, and 
whose office it was to wait on the said prisoner, 
whose table is to be supplied by the governor." 

Du Jonca's diary records the death of the pris- 
oner in the following terms : — 

" Monday, 19th November 1703. The unknown 
prisoner, who always wore a black velvet mask, and 
whom M. de Saint-Mars brought with him from 
the lies Sainte-Marguerite, and whom he had so 
long in charge, felt slightly unwell yesterday on 
coming back from mass. He died to-day at 10 p.m. 



without having a serious illness, indeed it could not 
have been slighter. M. Guiraut, our chaplain, con- 
fessed him yesterday, but as his death was quite 
unexpected he did not receive the last sacraments, 
although the chaplain was able to exhort him up to 
the moment of his death. He was buried on Tues- 
day the 20th November at 4 p.m. in the burial- 
ground of St. Paul's, our parish church. The 
funeral expenses amounted to 40 livres." 

His name and age were withheld from the priests 
of the parish. The entry made in the parish regis- 
ter, v;hich Pere Griffet also gives, is in the follow- 
ing words: — 

" On the 19th November 1703, Marchiali, aged 
about forty-five, died in the Bastille, whose body 
was buried in the graveyard of Saint-Paul's, his 
parish, on the 20th instant, in the presence of M. 
Rosarges and of M. Reilh, Surgeon-Major of the 

" (Signed) Rosarges, 
" Reilh." 

As soon as he was dead everything belonging to 
him, without exception, was burned; such as his 
linen, clothes, bed and bedding, rugs, chairs, and 
even the doors of the room he occupied. His ser- 



vice of plate was melted down, the walls of his room 
were scoured and whitewashed, the very floor was 
renewed, from fear of his having hidden a note 
under it, or left some mark by which he could be 

Pere Griffet did not agree with the opinions of 
either Lagrange-Chancel or Sainte-Foix, but seemed 
to incline towards the theory set forth in the Me- 
moires de Perse, against which no irrefutable ob- 
jections had been advanced. He concluded by say- 
ing that before arriving at any decision as to who 
the prisoner really was, it would be necessary to as- 
certain the exact date of his arrival at Pignerol. 

Sainte-Foix hastened to reply, upholding the 
soundness of the views he had advanced. He pro- 
cured from Arras a copy of an entry in the registers 
of the Cathedral Chapter, stating that Louis xiv 
had written with his own hand to the said Chapter 
that they were to admit to burial the body of the 
Comte de Vermandois, who had died in the city 
of Courtrai ; that he desired that the deceased should 
be interred in the centre of the choir, in the vault 
in which lay the remains of Elisabeth, Comtesse de 
Vermandois, wife of Philip of Alsace, Comte de 
Flanders, who had died in 1182. It is not to be sup- 
posed that Louis xiv would have chosen a family 
vault in which to bury a log of wood. 

Sainte-Foix was, however, not acquainted with 


the letter of Barbezieux, dated the 13th August 
1691, to which we have already referred, as a proof 
that the prisoner was not the Comte de Vermandois ; 
it is equally a proof that he was not the Duke of 
Monmouth, as Sainte-Foix maintained; for sen- 
tence was passed on the Duke of Monmouth in 
1685, so that it could not be of him either that 
Barbezieux wrote in 1691, "The prisoner whom 
you have had in charge for twenty years." 

In the very year in which Sainte-Foix began to 
flatter himself that his theory was successfully 
established, Baron Heiss brought a new one for- 
ward, in a letter dated "Phalsburg, 28th June 
1770," and addressed to the Journal Enclycope- 
dique. It was accompanied by a letter translated 
from the Italian which appeared in the Histoire 
Ahregee de I' Europe by Jacques Bernard, published 
by Claude Jordan, Leyden, 1685-87, in detached 
sheets. This letter stated (August 1687, article 
Mantone) that the Duke of Mantua being desirous 
to sell his capital, Casale, to the King of France, 
had been dissuaded therefrom by his secretary, and 
induced to join the other princes of Italy in their 
endeavours to thwart the ambitious schemes of 
Louis XIV, The Marquis d'Arcy, French ambassa- 
dor to the court of Savoy, having been informed 
of the secretary's influence, distinguished him by 
all kinds of civilities, asked him frequently to table, 



and at last invited him to join a large hunting 
party two or three leagues outside Turin. They 
set out together, but at a short distance from the 
city were surrounded by a dozen horsemen, who 
carried off the secretary, disguised him, put a mask 
on him, and took him to Pignerol. He was not kept 
long in this fortress, as it was too near the Italian 
frontier, and although he zcas carefully guarded 
it was feared that the zvalls zvould speak; so he 
was transferred to the ties Sainte-Marguerite, 
where he is at present in the custody of M. de Saint- '■ 

This theory, of which much was heard later, did 
not at first excite much attention. What is certain 
is that the Duke of Mantua's secretary, by name 
Matthioli, was arrested in 1679 through the agency 
of Abbe d'Estrade and M. de Catinat, and taken 
with the utmost secrecy to Pignerol, where he was 
imprisoned and placed in charge of M. de Saint- 
Mars. He must not, however, be confounded with 
the Man in the Iron Mask. 

Catinat says of Matthioli in a letter to Louvois: 
" No one knows the name of this knave/' 

Louvois writes to Saint-Mars: "I admire your 
patience in waiting for an order to treat such a 
rogue as he deserves, when he treats you with 

Saint-Mars replies to the minister: "I have 


charged Blainvilliers to show him a cudgel and tell 
him that with its aid we can make the froward 

Again Louvois writes : " The clothes of such 
people must be made to last three or four 

This cannot have been the nameless prisoner who 
was treated with such consideration, before whom 
Louvois stood bare-headed, who was supplied with 
fine linen and lace, and so on. 

Altogether, we gather from the correspondence 
of Saint-Mars that the unhappy man alluded to 
above was confined along with a mad Jacobin, and 
at last became mad himself, and succumbed to his 
misery in 1686. 

Voltaire, who was probably the first to supply 
such inexhaustible food for controversy, kept silence 
and took no part in the discussions. But when all 
the theories had been presented to the public, he 
set about refuting them. He made himself very 
merry, in the seventh edition of Questions stir 
I'Encyclopedie distibuees en forme de Dictionnaire 
(Geneva, 1791), over the complaisance attributed 
to Louis XIV in acting as police-sergeant and gaoler 
for James 11, William in, and Anne, with all of 
whom he was at war. Persisting still in taking 
1661 or 1662 as the date when the incarceration of 
the masked prisoner began, he attacks the opinions 



advanced by Lagrange-Chancel and Pere Griffet, 
which they had drawn from the anonymous 
Mhnoires secrets pour servir a I'Histoire de Perse. 
" Having thus dissipated all these illusions," he 
says, " let us now consider who the masked prisoner 
was, and how old he was when he died. It is 
evident that if he was never allowed to walk in the 
courtyard of the Bastille or to see a physician 
without his mask, it must have been lest his too 
striking resemblance to someone should be re- 
marked; he could show his tongue but not his face. 
As regards his age, he himself told the apothecary 
at the Bastille, a few days before his death, that he 
thought he was about sixty; this I have often heard 
from a son-in-law to this apothecary, M. Marsoban, 
surgeon to Marshal Richelieu, and afterwards to 
the regent, the Due d'Orleans. The writer of this 
article knows perhaps more on this subject than 
Pere Griffet. But he has said his say." 

This article in the Questions on the Encyclopaedia 
was followed by some remarks from the pen of the 
publisher, which are also, however, attributed by 
the publishers of Kelh to Voltaire himself. The 
publisher, who sometimes calls himself the author, 
puts aside without refutation all the theories ad- 
vanced, including that of Baron Heiss, and says he 
has come to the conclusion that the Iron Mask was, 
without doubt, a brother and an elder brother of 

200 1 


Louis xiv^ by a lover of the queen. Anne of Austria 
had come to persuade herself that hers alone was 
the fault which had deprived Louis xiv of an heir, 
but the birth of the Iron Mask undeceived her. The 
cardinal, to whom she confided her secret, cleverly 
arranged to bring the king and queen, who had long 
lived apart, together again. A second son was the 
result of this reconciliation ; and the first child being 
removed in secret, Louis xiv remained in ignorance 
of the existence of his half-brother till after his 
majority. It was the policy of Louis xiv to affect a 
great respect for the royal house, so he avoided 
much embarrassment to himself and a scandal 
affecting the memory of Anne of Austria by adopt- 
ing the wise and fust measure of burying alive the 
pledge of an adulterous love. He was thus enabled 
to avoid committing an act of cruelty, which a sov- 
ereign less conscientious and less magnanimons 
would have considered a necessity. 

After this declaration Voltaire made no further 
reference to the Iron Mask. This last version of 
the story upset that of Sainte-Foix. Voltaire hav- 
ing been initiated into the state secret by the 
Marquis de Richelieu, we may be permitted to sus- 
pect that being naturally indiscreet he published 
the truth from behind the shelter of a pseudonym, 
or at least gave a version which approached the 
truth, but later on realising the dangerous signifi- 



cance of his words, he preserved for the future 
complete silence. 

We now approach the question whether the prince 
who thus became the Iron Mask was an illegitimate 
brother or a twin-brother of Louis xiv. The first 
was maintained by M. Ouentin-Crawfurd ; the 
second by Abbe Soulavie in his Mcinoires dii Mare- 
chal Due de Ricliclicu (London, 1790). In 1783 
the Marquis de Luchet, in the Journal des Gens du 
Monde (vol. iv. No. 23, p. 282, et seq.), awarded 
to Buckingham the honour of the paternity in 
dispute. In support of this, he quoted the testi- 
mony of a lady of the house of Saint-Quentin who 
had been a mistress of the minister Barbezieux, 
and who died at Chartres about the middle of the 
eighteenth century. She had declared publicly that 
Louis XIV had consigned his elder brother to per- 
petual imprisonment, and that the mask was neces- 
sitated by the close resemblance of the two brothers 
to each other. 

The Duke of Buckingham, who came to France 
in 1625, in order to escort Henrietta Maria, sister 
of Louis XIII, to England, where she was to marry 
the Prince of Wales, made no secret of his ardent 
love for the queen, and it is almost certain that she 
was not insensible to his passion. An anonymous 
pamphlet, La Conference du Cardinal Maaarin avec 
le Gazetier (Brussels, 1649), says that she was in- 



fatuated about him, and allowed him to visit her in 
her room. She even permitted him to take off and 
keep one of her gloves, and his vanity leading him 
to show his spoil, the king heard of it, and was 
vastly offended. An anecdote, the truth of which 
no one has ever denied, relates that one day Buck- 
ingham spoke to the queen with such passion in the 
presence of her lady-in-waiting, the Marquise de 
Senecey, that the latter exclaimed, " Be silent, sir, 
you cannot speak thus to the Queen of France ! " 
According to this version, the Man in the Iron 
Mask must have been born at latest in 1637, but 
the mention of any such date would destroy the 
possibility of Buckingham's paternity, for he was 
assassinated at Portsmouth on September 2nd, 

After the taking of the Bastille the masked pris- 
oner became the fashionable topic of discussion, 
and one heard of nothing else. On the 13th of 
August 1789 it was announced in an article in a 
journal called Loisirs d'nn Patriotc frangais, which 
was afterwards published anonymously as a pam- 
phlet, that the publisher had seen, among other 
documents found in the Bastille, a card bearing the 
unintelligible number " 64389000," and the follow- 
ing note : " Fouquet, arriving from Les lies Sainte- 
Marguerite in an iron mask." To this there was, it 
was said, a double signature, viz. " XXX," super- 



imposed on the name " Kersadion." The journalist 
was of opinion that Fouquet had succeeded in mak- 
ing his escape, but had been retaken and condemned 
to pass for dead, and to wear a mask henceforward, 
as a punishment for his attempted evasion. This 
tale made some impression, for it was remembered 
that in the Supplement to the Siecle dc Louis XIV 
it was stated that Chamillart had said that " the 
Iron Mask was a man who knew all the secrets of 
M. Fouquet." But the existence of this card was 
never proved, and we cannot accept the story on the 
unsupported word of an anonymous writer. 

From the time that restrictions on the press were 
removed, hardly a day passed without the appear- 
ance of some new pamphlet on the Iron Mask. 
Louis Dutens, in Correspondence hiterceptee 
(i2mo, 1789), revived the theory of Baron Heiss, 
supporting it by new and curious facts. He proved 
that Louis xiv had really ordered one of the Duke 
of Mantua's ministers to be carried off and im- 
prisoned in Pignerol. Dutens gave the name of the 
victim as Girolamo Magni. He also quoted from 
a memorandum which by the wish of the Marquis 
de Castellane was drawn up by a certain Souchon, 
probably the man wliom Papon questioned in 1778. 
This Souchon was the son of a man who had be- 
longed to the Free Company maintained in the 
islands in the time of Saint-Mars, and was seventy- 



nine years old. This memorandum gives a detailed 
account of the abduction of a minister in 1679, who 
is styled a " minister of the Empire," and his 
arrival as a masked prisoner at the islands, and 
states that he died there in captivity nine years 
after he w^as carried off. 

Dutens thus divests the episode of the element 
of the marvellous with which Voltaire had sur- 
rounded it. He called to his aid the testimony of 
the Due de Choiseul, who, having in vain attempted 
to worm the secret of the Iron Mask out of Louis 
xv^ begged Madame de Pompadour to try her hand, 
and was told by her that the prisoner was the 
minister of an Italian prince. At the same time 
that Dutens wrote, " There is no fact in history 
better established than the fact that the Man in 
the Iron Mask was a minister of the Duke of 
Mantua who was carried off from Turin," M. 
Quentin-Crawfurd was maintaining that the 
prisoner was a son of Anne of Austria; while a few 
years earlier Bouche, a lawyer. In his Essai sur 
VHistoire de Provence (2 vols. 4to, 1785), had 
regarded this story as a fable invented by Voltaire, 
and had convinced himself that the prisoner was 
a woman. As we see, discussion threw no light on 
the subject, and instead of being dissipated, the con- 
fusion became ever " worse confounded." 

In 1790 the Memoir es du Mare dial de Richelieu 


appeared. He had left his note-books, his Hbrary, 
and his correspondence to Soulavie. The Memoires 
are undoubtedly authentic, and have, if not cer- 
tainty, at least a strong moral presumption in their 
favour, and gained the belief of men holding 
diverse opinions. But before placing under the 
eyes of our readers extracts from them relating to * 
the Iron Mask, let us refresh our memory by re- 
calling two theories which had not stood the test of 
thorough investigation. 

According to som.e MS. notes left by M. de 
Bonac, French ambassador at Constantinople in 
1724, the Armenian Patriarch Arwedicks, a mortal 
enemy of our Church and the instigator of the 
terrible persecutions to which the Roman Catholics 
were subjected, was carried off into exile at the re- 
quest of the Jesuits by a French vessel, and confined 
in a prison whence there zvas no escape. This prison 
was the fortress of Sainte-Marguerite, and from 
there he zvas taken to the Bastille, zvhere he died. 
The Turkish Government continually clamoured for 
his release till 1723, but the French Government per- 
sistently denied having taken any part in the abduc- 

Even if it were not a matter of history that 
Arwedicks went over to the Roman Catholic Church 
and died a free man in Paris, as may be seen by 
an inspection of the certificate of his death pre- 



served among the archives in the Foreign Office, 
one sentence from the note-book of M. de Bonac 
would be sufficient to annihilate this theory. M. 
de Bonac says that the Patriarch was carried off, 
while M. de Feriol, who succeeded M. de Chateau- 
neuf in 1699, was ambassador at Constantinople. 
Now it was in 1698 that Saint-Mars arrived at the 
Bastille with his masked prisoner. 

Several English scholars have sided with Gibbon 
in thinking that the Man in the Iron Mask might 
possibly have been Henry, the second son of Oliver 
Cromwell, who was held as a hostage by Louis xiv. 

By an odd coincidence the second son of the Lord 
Protector does entirely disappear from the page 
of history in 1659; we know nothing of where he 
afterwards lived nor when he died. But why 
should he be a prisoner of state in France, while his 
elder brother Richard was permitted to live there 
quite openly? In the absence of all proof, we 
cannot attach the least importance to this explana- 
tion of the mystery. 

We now come to the promised extracts from the 
Menioires du Marcchal de Richelieu : — 

" Under the late king there was a time when 
every class of society was asking who the famous 
personage really was who went by the name of the 
Iron Mask, but I noticed that this curiosity abated 



somewhat after his arrival at the Bastille with 
Saint-Mars, when it began to be reported that 
orders had been given to kill him should he let his 
name be known. Saint-Mars also let it be under- 
stood that whoever found out the secret would 
share the same fate. This threat to murder both 
the prisoner and those who showed too much curi- 
osity about him made such an impression, that 
during the lifetime of the late king people only 
spoke of the mystery below their breath. The 
anonymous author of Les Mcmoires de Perse, 
which were published in Holland fifteen years after 
the death of Louis xiv, was the first who dared to 
speak publicly of the prisoner and relate some anec- 
dotes about him. 

" Since the publication of that work, liberty of 
speech and the freedom of the press have made 
great strides, and the shade of Louis xiv having lost 
its terrors, the case of the Iron Mask is freely dis- 
cussed, and yet even now, at the end of my life and 
seventy years after the death of the king, people 
are still asking who the Man in the Iron Mask 
really was. 

" This question was one I put to the adorable 
princess, beloved of the regent, who inspired in 
return only aversion and respect, all her love being 
given to me. As everyone was persuaded that the 
regent knew the name, the course of life, and the 

2009 Dumaa— Vol. G— H 


cause of the imprisonment of the masked prisoner, 
I, being more venturesome in my curiosity than 
others, tried through my princess to fathom the 
secret. She had hitherto constantly repulsed the 
advances of the Due d' Orleans, but as the ardour 
of his passion was thereby in no wise abated, the 
least glimpse of hope would be sufficient to induce 
him to grant her everything she asked ; I persuaded 
her, therefore, to let him understand that if he 
would allow her to read the Memoires dn Masque 
which were in his possession his dearest desires 
would be fulfilled. 

" The Due d'Orleans had never been known to 
reveal any secret of state, being unspeakably cir- 
cumspect, and having been trained to keep every 
confidence inviolable by his preceptor Dubois, so I 
felt quite certain that even the princess would fail 
in her efforts to get a sight of the memoranda in 
his possession relative to the birth and rank of the 
masked prisoner; but what cannot love, and such 
an ardent love, induce a man to do ? 

• ••••••• 

" To reward her goodness the regent gave the 
documents into her hands, and she forwarded them 
to me next day, enclosed in a note written in cipher, 
which, according to the laws of historical writing, 
I reproduce in its entirety, vouching for its authen- 
ticity; for the princess always employed a cipher 



when she used the language of gallantry, and this 
note told me what treaty she had had to sign in 
order that she might obtain the documents, and the 
duke the desire of his heart. The details are not 
admissible in serious history, but, borrowing the 
modest language of the patriarchal time, I may say 
that if Jacob, before he obtained possession of the 
best beloved of Laban's daughters, was obliged to 
pay tlie price twice over, the regent drove a better 
bargain than the patriarch. The note and the 
memorandum were as follows: — 

" '2. I. 17. 12. 9. 2. 20. 2. I, 7. 14. 

20. 10. 3. 21. I. II. 14. I, 15. 16. 12. 

17. 14. 2. I. 21. II. 20. 17. 12. 9. 14. 

9. 2. 8. 20. 5. 20. 2. 2. 17. 8. I. 2. 20. 

9. 21. 21. I. 5. 12. 17. 15. 00. 14. I. 15. 

14. 12. 9. 21. 5. 12. 9. 21. 16. 20. 14. 
8. 3. 

" 'Narrative of the Birth and Education of 
THE Unfortunate Prince who was Sep- 
arated FROM THE World by Cardinals 
Richelieu and Mazarin and Imprisoned 
BY Order of Louis XIV. 

"" 'Drawn up by the Governor of this Prince on 
his deathbed. 



" *The unfortunate prince whom I brought up 
and had in charge till almost the end of my life was 
born on the 5th September 1638 at 8.30 o'clock 
in the evening, while the king was at supper. His 
brother, who is now on the throne, was born at 
noon while the king was at dinner, but whereas his 
birth was splendid and public, that of his brother 
was sad and secret; for the king being informed 
by the midwife that the queen was about to give 
birth to a second child, ordered the chancellor, the 
midwife, the chief almoner, the queen's confessor, 
and myself to stay in her room to be witnesses of 
whatever happened, and of his course of action 
should a second child be born. 

" 'For a long time already it had been foretold 
to the king that his wife would give birth to two 
sons, and some days before, certain shepherds had 
arrived in Paris, saying they were divinely inspired, 
so that it was said in Paris that if two dauphins 
were born it would be the greatest misfortune 
which could happen to the State. The Archbishop 
of Paris summoned these soothsayers before him, 
and ordered them to be imprisoned in Saint-Lazare, 
because the populace was becoming excited about 
them — a circumstance which filled the king with 
care, as he foresaw much trouble to his kingdom. 
What had been predicted by the soothsayers hap- 
pened, whether they had really been warned by the 



constellations, or whether Providence by whom His 
Majesty had been warned of the calamities which 
might happen to France interposed. The king had 
sent a messenger to the cardinal to tell him of this 
prophecy, and the cardinal had replied that the 
matter must be considered, that the birth of two 
dauphins was not impossible, and should such a 
case arrive, the second must be carefully hidden 
away, lest in the future desiring to be king he 
should fight against his brother in support of a new 
branch of the royal house, and come at last to reign. 
" 'The king in his suspense felt very uncom- 
fortable, and as the queen began to utter cries we 
feared a second confinement. We sent to inform 
the king, who was almost overcome by the thought 
that he was about to become the father of two 
dauphins. He said to the Bishop of Meaux, whom 
he had sent for to minister to the queen, " Do not 
quit my wife till she is safe; I am in mortal terror." 
Immediately after he summoned us all, the Bishop 
of Meaux, the chancellor M. Honorat, Dame 
Peronete the midwife, and myself, and said to us 
in presence of the queen, so that she could hear, 
that we would answer to him with our heads if 
we made known the birth of a second dauphin; 
that it was his will that the fact should remain a 
state secret, to prevent the misfortunes which would 
else happen, the Salic Law not having declared to 



whom the inheritance of the kingdom should come 
in case two eldest sons were born to any of the 

" 'What had been foretold happened : the queen, 
while the king was at supper, gave birth to a second 
dauphin, more dainty and more beautiful than the 
first, but who wept and wailed unceasingly, as if 
he regretted to take up that life in which he was 
afterwards to endure such suffering. The chan- 
cellor drew up the report of this wonderful birth, 
without parallel in our history; but His Majesty 
not being pleased with its form, burned it in our 
presence, and the chancellor had to write and 
rewrite till His Majesty was satisfied. The almoner 
remonstrated, saying it would be impossible to hide 
the birth of a prince, but the king returned that he 
had reasons of state for all he did. 

" 'Afterwards the king made us register our 
oath, the chancellor signing it first, then the queen's 
confessor, and I last. The oath was also signed 
by the surgeon and midwife who attended on the 
queen, and the king attached this document to the 
report, taking both away with him, and I never 
heard any more of either. I remember that His 
Majesty consulted with the chancellor as to the 
form of the oath, and that he spoke for a long time 
in an undertone to the cardinal: after which the 
last-born child was given into the charge of the 



midwife, and as they were always afraid she would 
babble about his birth, she has told me that they 
often threatened her with death should she ever 
mention it: we were also forbidden to speak, even 
to each otlier, of the child whose birth we had 

" 'Not one of us has as yet violated his oath ; for 
His Majesty dreaded nothing so much as a civil 
war brought about by the two children born 
together, and the cardinal, who afterwards got the 
care of the second child into his hands, kept that 
fear alive. The king also commanded us to exam- 
ine the unfortunate prince minutely; he had a wart 
above the left elbow, a mole on the right side of 
his neck, and a tiny wart on his right thigh; for 
His Majesty was determined, and rightly so, that 
in case of the decease of the first-born, the royal 
infant whom he was entrusting to our care should 
take his place; wherefore he required our sign- 
manual to the report of the birth, to which a small 
royal seal was attached in our presence, and we all 
signed it after His Majesty, according as he com- 
manded. As to the shepherds who had foretold the 
double birth, never did I hear another word of 
them, but neither did I inquire. The cardinal who 
took the mysterious infant in charge probably got 
them out of the country. 

" 'All through the infancy of the second prince 


Dame Peronete treated him as if he were her own 
child, giving out that his father was a great noble- 
man ; for everyone saw by the care she lavished on 
him and the expense she went to, that although 
unacknowledged he was the cherished son of rich 
parents, and well cared for. 

" 'When the prince began to grow up, Cardinal 
Mazarin, who succeeded Cardinal Richelieu in the 
charge of the prince's education, gave him into my 
hands to bring up in a manner worthy of a king's 
son, but in secret. Dame Peronete continued in his 
service till her death, and was very much attached 
to him, and he still more to her. The prince was 
instructed in my house in Burgundy, with all the 
care due to the son and brother of a king. 

" 'I had several conversations with the queen 
mother during the troubles in France, and Her 
Majesty always seemed to fear that if the existence 
of the prince should be discovered during the life- 
time of his brother, the young king, malcontents 
would make it a pretext for rebellion, because many 
medical men hold that the last-born of twins is in 
reality the elder, and if so, he was king by right, 
while many others have a different opinion. 

" *In spite of this dread, the queen could never 
bring herself to destroy the written evidence of his 
birth, because in case of the death of the young king 
she intended to have his twin-brother proclaimed. 



She told me often that the written proofs were in 
her strong box. 

" 'I gave the ill-starred prince such an education 
as I should have liked to receive myself, and no 
acknowledged son of a king ever had a better. The 
only thing for which I have to reproach myself is 
that, without intending it, I caused him great unhap- 
piness ; for when he was nineteen years old he had 
a burning desire to know who he was, and as he 
saw that I was determined to be silent, growing 
more firm the more he tormented me with questions, 
he made up his mind henceforward to disguise his 
curiosity and to make me think that he believed him- 
self a love-child of my own. He began to call me 
* father,' although when we were alone I often 
assured him that he was mistaken; but at length I 
gave up combating this belief, which he perhaps 
only feigned to make me speak, and allowed him to 
think he was my son, contradicting him no more; 
but while he continued to dwell on this subject he 
was meantime making every effort to find out who 
he really was. Two years passed thus, when, 
through an unfortunate piece of forgetfulness on 
my part, for which I greatly blame myself, he be- 
came acquainted with the truth. He knew that the 
king had lately sent me several messengers, and 
once having carelessly forgotten to lock up a casket 
containing letters from the queen and the cardinals, 



he read part and divined the rest through his natural 
intelligence; and later confessed to me that he had 
carried off the letter which told most explicitly of 
his birth. 

" *I can recall that from this time on, his manner 
to me showed no longer that respect for me in which 
I had brought him up, but became hectoring and 
rude, and that I could not imagine the reason of the 
change, for I never found out that he had searched 
my papers, and he never revealed to me how he got 
at the casket, whether he was aided by some work- 
men whom he did not wish to betray, or had em- 
ployed other means. 

" 'One day, however, he unguardedly asked me 
to show him the portraits of the late and the present 
Icing. I answered that those that existed were so 
poor that I was waiting till better ones were taken 
before having them in my house. 

" 'This answer, which did not satisfy him, called 
forth the request to be allowed to go to Dijon. I 
found out afterwards that he wanted to see a por- 
trait of the king which was there, and to get to the 
court, which was just then at Saint- Jean-de-Luz, 
because of the approaching marriage with the in- 
fanta; so that he might compare himself with his 
brother and see if there were any resemblance be- 
tween them. Having knowledge of his plan, I never 
let him out of my sight. 



" 'The young prince was at this time as beautiful 
as Cupid, and through the intervention of Cupid 
himself he succeeded in getting hold of a portrait 
of his brother. One of the upper servants of the 
house, a young girl, had taken his fancy, and he 
lavished such caresses on her and inspired her with 
so much love, that although the whole household 
was strictly forbidden to give him anything without 
my permission, she procured him a portrait of the 
king. The unhappy prince saw the likeness at once, 
indeed no one could help seeing it, for the one por- 
trait would serve equally well for either brother, 
and the sight produced such a fit of fury that he 
came to me crying out, " There is my brother, and 
this tells me who I am ! " holding out a letter from 
Cardinal Mazarin which he had stolen from me, and 
making a great commotion in my house. 

" 'The dread lest the prince should escape and suc- 
ceed in appearing at the marriage of his brother 
made me so uneasy, that I sent off a messenger to 
the king to tell him that my casket had been opened, 
and asking for instructions. The king sent back 
word through the cardinal that we were both to be 
shut up till further orders, and that the prince was 
to be made to understand that the cause of our 
common misfortune was his absurd claim. I have 
since shared his prison, but I believe that a decree 
of release has arrived from my heavenly Judge, and 



for my soul's health and for my ward's sake I make 
this declaration, that he may know what measures 
to take in order to put an end to his ignominious 
estate should the king die without children. Can 
any oath imposed under threats oblige one to be 
silent about such incredible events, which it is never- 
theless necessary that posterity should know ?' " 

Such were the contents of the historical document 
given by the regent to the princess, and it suggests a 
crowd of questions. Who was the prince's gov- 
ernor? Was he a Burgundian? Was he simply a 
landed proprietor, with some property and a coun- 
try house in Burgundy? How far was his estate 
from Dijon ? He must have been a man of note, for 
he enjoyed the most intimate confidence at the court 
of Louis xiii^ either by virtue of his office or because 
he was a favourite of the king, the queen, and 
Cardinal Richelieu. Can we learn from the list of 
the nobles of Burgundy what member of their body 
disappeared from public life along with a young 
ward whom he had brought up in his own house 
just after the marriage of Louis xiv ? Why did he 
not attach his signature to the declaration, which 
appears to be a hundred years old? Did he dictate 
it when so near death that he had not strength to 
sign it? How did it find its way out of prison? 
And so forth. 



There is no answer to all these questions, and I, 
for my part, cannot undertake to affirm that the 
document is genuine. Abbe Soulavie relates that 
he one day " pressed the marshal for an answer to 
some questions on the matter, asking, amongst other 
things, if it were not true that the prisoner was an 
elder brother of Louis xiv born without the knowl- 
edge of Louis XIII. The marshal appeared very 
much embarrassed, and although he did not entirely 
refuse to answer, what he said was not very explan- 
atory. He averred that this important personage 
was neither the illegitimate brother of Louis xiv, 
nor the Duke of Monmouth, nor the Comte de Ver- 
mandois, nor the Due de Beaufort, and so on, as so 
many writers had asserted." He called all their 
writings mere inventions, but added that almost 
every one of them had got hold of some true inci- 
dents, as for instance the order to kill the prisoner 
should he make himself known. Finally he ac- 
knowledged that he knew the state secret, and used 
the following words : " All that I can tell you, abbe, 
is, that when the prisoner died at the beginning of 
the century, at a very advanced age, he had ceased 
to be of such importance as when, at the beginning 
of his reign, Louis xiv shut him up for weighty 
reasons of state." 

The above was written down under the eyes of 
the marshal, and when Abbe Soulavie entreated him 



to say something further which, while not actually 
revealing the secret, would yet satisfy his question- 
er's curiosity, the marshal answered, " Read M. de 
Voltaire's latest writings on the subject, especially 
his concluding words, and reflect on them." 

With the exception of Dulaure, all the critics have 
treated Soulavie's narrative with the most profound 
contempt, and we must confess that if it was an 
invention it was a monstrous one, and that the con- 
coction of the famous note in cipher was abomin- 
able. ** Such was the great secret ; in order to find 
it out, I had to allow myself 5, 12, 17, 15, 14, i, 
three times by 8, 3." But unfortunately for those 
who would defend the morals of Mademoiselle de 
Valois, it would be difficult to traduce the character 
of herself, her lover, and her father, for what one 
knows of the trio justifies one in believing that the 
more infamous the conduct imputed to them, the 
more likely it is to be true. We cannot see the force 
of the objection that Louvois would not have writ- 
ten in the following terms to Saint-Mars in 1687 
about a bastard son of Anne of Austria : " I see no 
objection to your removing Chevalier de Thezut 
from the prison in which he is confined, and putting 
your prisoner there till the one you are preparing 
for him is ready to receive him." And we cannot 
understand those who ask if Saint-Mars, following 
the example of the minister, would have said of a 



prince ** Until he is installed in the prison which is 
being- prepared for him here, which has a chapel 
adjoining " ? Why should he have expressed him- 
self otherwise? Does it evidence an abatement of 
consideration to call a prisoner a prisoner, and his 
prison a prison? 

A certain M. de Saint-Mihiel published an Svo 
volume in 1791, at Strasbourg and Paris, entitled 
Le veritable homme, dit au Masque de fer, ouvrage 
dans Icqucl on fait connaitre, siir preuves incontcst- 
ahlcs, a qui le cclchre infortunc diit le jour, quand 
et on il naquit. The wording of the title will give 
an idea of the bizarre and barbarous jargon in 
which the whole book is written. It would be diffi- 
cult to imagine the vanity and self-satisfaction 
which inspire tliis new reader of riddles. If he 
had found the philosopher's stone, or made a dis- 
covery which would transform the world, he could 
not exhibit more pride and pleasure. All things 
considered, the " incontestable proofs " of his theory 
do not decide the question definitely, or place it 
above all attempts at refutation, any more than does 
the evidence on which the other theories which pre- 
ceded and followed his rest. But what he lacks 
before all other things is the talent for arranging 
and using his materials. With the most ordinary 
skill he might have evolved a theory which would 
have defied criticism at least as successfully as the 
. 2023 


others, and he might have supported it by proofs, 
which if not incontestable (for no one has produced 
such), had at least moral presumption in their 
favour, which has great weight in such a mys- 
terious and obscure affair, in trying to explain, 
which one can never leave on one side, the respect 
shown by Louvois to the prisoner, to whom he al- 
ways spoke standing and with uncovered head. 

According to M. de Saint-Mihiel, the Man in the 
Iron Mask was a legitimate son of Anne of Austria 
and Mamrin. 

He avers that Mazarin was only a deacon, and 
not a priest, when he became cardinal, having never 
taken priest's orders, according to the testimony 
of the Princess Palatine, consort of Philip i, Due 
d'Orleans, and that it was therefore possible for 
him to marry, and that he did marry, Anne of Aus- 
tria in secret. 

" Old Madame Beauvais, principal woman of the 
bed-chamber to the queen mother, knew of this 
ridiculous marriage, and as the price of her secrecy 
obliged the queen to comply with all her whims. 
To this circumstance the principal bed-chamber 
women owe the extensive privileges accorded them 
ever since in this country " (Letter of the Duchesse 
d'Orleans, 13th September 1713). 

** The queen mother, consort of Louis xiii, had 


done worse than simply to fall in love with Mazarin, 
she had married him, for he had never been an 
ordained priest, he had only taken deacon's orders. 
If he had been a priest his marriage would have 
been impossible. He grew terribly tired of the good 
queen mother, and did not live happily with her, 
which was only what he deserved for making such 
a marriage " (Letter of the Duchesse d'Orleans, 
2nd November 171 7). 

" She (the queen mother) was quite easy in her 
conscience about Cardinal Mazarin; he was not in 
priest's orders, and so could marry. The secret 
passage by which he reached the queen's rooms 
every evening still exists in the Palais Royal " (Let- 
ter of the Duchesse d'Orleans, 2nd July 171 9). 

" The queen's manner of conducting affairs is 
influenced by the passion which dominates her. 
When she and the cardinal converse together, their 
ardent love for each other is betrayed by their looks 
and gestures; it is plain to see that when obliged to 
part for a time they do it with great reluctance. If 
what people say is true, that they are properly mar- 
ried, and that their union has been blessed by Pere 
Vincent the missioner, there is no harm in all that 
goes on between them, either in public or in pri- 
vate " (Requete civile contre la Conclusion de la 
Paix, 1649). 



The Man in the Iron Mask told the apothecary 
in the Bastille that he thought he was about sixty 
years of age (Questions siir I' Ency do pedie). Thus 
he must have been born in 1644, just at the time 
when Anne of Austria was invested with the royal 
power, though it was really exercised by Mazarin. 

Can we find any incident recorded in history 
which lends support to the supposition that Anne of 
Austria had a son whose birth was kept as secret 
as her marriage to Mazarin? 

" In 1644, Anne of Austria being dissatisfied witK 
her apartments in the Louvre, moved to the Palais 
Royal, which had been left to the king by Richelieu. 
Shortly after taking up residence there she was very 
ill with a severe attack of jaundice, which was 
caused, in the opinion of the doctors, by worry, 
anxiety, and overwork, and which pulled her down 
greatly " (Memoire de Madame de Motteville, 4 
vols. i2mo, vol. i. p. 194). 

" This anxiety, caused by the pressure of public 
business, was most probably only dwelt on as a pre- 
text for a pretended attack of illness. Anne of 
Austria had no cause for worry and anxiety till 
1649. She did not begin to complain of the des- 
potism of Mazarin till towards the end of 1645 ** 
(Ibid., vol. i. pp. 2^2, 273). 

" She went frequently to the theatre during her 
first year of widowhood, but took care to hide her- 



self from view in her box " {Ibid., vol. i. p. 342). 

Abbe Soulavie, in vol. vi. of the Memoires de 
Richelieu, published in 1793, controverted the opin- 
ions of M. de Saint-Mihiel, and again advanced 
those which he had published some time before, 
supporting them by a new array of reasons. 

The fruitlessness of research in the archives of 
the Bastille, and the importance of the political 
events which were happening, diverted the attention 
of the public for some years from this subject. In 
the year 1800, however, the Magazin encyclo- 
pediqiie published (vol. vi. p. 472) an article en- 
titled Memoires sur Ics Problemes historiques, et la 
Methode de les resoudre appliquee a cehii qui con- 
cerne V Homme au Masque de Per, signed C. D. O., 
in which the author maintained that the prisoner 
was the first minister of the Duke of Mantua, and 
says his name was Girolamo Magni. 

In the same year an octavo volume of 142 pages 
was produced by M. Roux-Fazillac. It bore the 
title Recherches historiques et critiques sur V Homme 
au Masque de Per, d'ou residtcnt des Notions cer- 
taines sur ce prisonnier. These researches brought 
to light a secret correspondence relative to certain 
negotiations and intrigues, and to the abduction of a 
secretary of the Duke of Mantua whose name was 
Matthioli, and not Girolamo Magni. 



In 1802 an octavo pamphlet containing 11 pages, 
of which the author was perhaps Baron Lerviere, 
but which was signed Reth, was pubHshed. It took 
the form of a letter to General Jourdan, and was 
dated from Turin, and gave many details about 
Matthioli and his family. It was entitled Veritable 
Clef de I'Histoire de I' Homme au Masque de Fer. 
It proved that the secretary of the Duke of Mantua 
was carried off, masked, and imprisoned, by order 
of Louis XIV in 1679, but it did not succeed in estab- 
lishing as an undoubted fact that the secretary and 
the Man in the Iron Mask were one and the same 

It may be remembered that M. Crawfurd writing 
in 1798 had said in his Histoire de la Bastille (8vo, 
474 P^g^s), " I cannot doubt that the Man in the 
Iron Mask was the son of Anne of Austria, but am 
unable to decide whether he was a twin-brother of 
Louis XIV or was born while the king and queen 
lived apart, or during her widowhood." M. Craw- 
furd, in his Melanges d'Histoire et de Litteratiire 
tires d'lin Portefeuille (quarto 1809, octavo 1817), 
demolished the theory advanced by Roux-Fazillac. 

In 1825, Al. Delort discovered in the archives sev- 
eral letters relating to Matthioli, and published his 
Histoire de V Homme au Masque de Fer (8vo). 
This work was translated into English by George 
Agar-EUis, and retranslated into French in 1830, 



under the title Histoire mithcntiqiie dii Prisonnier 
d'Etat, connn sous le Nom dc Masque de Fcr. It 
is in this work that the suggestion is made that the 
captive was the second son of Ohver Cromwell. 

In 1826, M. de Taules wrote that, in his opinion, 
the masked prisoner was none other than the 
Armenian Patriarch, But six years later the great 
success of my drama at the Odeon converted nearly 
everyone to the version of which Soulavie was the 
chief exponent. The bibliophile Jacob is mistaken 
in asserting that I followed a tradition preserved in 
the family of the Due de Choiseul; M. le Due de 
Bassano sent me a copy made under his personal 
supervision of a document drawn up for Napoleon, 
containing the results of some researches made by 
his orders on the subject of the Man in the Iroo 
Mask. The original MS., as well as that of the 
Memoir cs dn Due de Richelieu, were, the duke told 
me, kept at the Foreign Office. In 1834 the Journal 
of the Institut historique published a letter from M. 
Auguste Billiard, who stated that he had also made 
a copy of this document for the late Comte de 
Montalivet, Home Secretary under the Empire. 

M. Dufey (de I'Yonne) gave his Histoire de la 
Bastille to the world in the same year, and was in- 
clined to believe that the prisoner was a son of 

Besides the many important personages on whom 


the famous mask had been placed, there was one 
whom everyone had forgotten, although his name 
had been put forward by the minister Chamillart: 
this was the celebrated Superintendent of Finance, 
Nicolas Fouquet. In 1837, Jacob, armed with docu- 
ments and extracts, once more occupied himself 
with this Chinese puzzle on which so much ingenuity 
had been lavished, but of which no one had as yet 
got all the pieces into their places. Let us see if he 
succeeded better than his forerunners. 

The first feeling he awakes is one of surprise. 
It seems odd that he should again bring up the case 
of Fouquet, who was condemned to imprisonment 
for life in 1664, confined in Pignerol under the care 
of Saint-Mars, and whose death was announced 
(falsely according to Jacob) on March 23rd, 1680. 
The first thing to look for in trying to get at the 
true history of the Mask is a sufficient reason of 
state to account for the persistent concealment of 
the prisoner's features till his death; and next, an 
explanation of the respect shown him by Louvois, 
whose attitude towards him would have been ex- 
traordinary in any age, but was doubly so during 
the reign of Louis xiv^ whose courtiers would have 
been the last persons in the world to render homage 
to the misfortunes of a man in disgrace with their 
master. Whatever the real motive of the king's 
anger against Fouquet may have been, whether 



Louis thought he arrogated to himself too much 
power, or aspired to rival his master in the hearts 
of some of the king's mistresses, or even presumed 
to raise his eyes higher still, was not the utter ruin, 
the lifelong captivity, of his enemy enough to sati- 
ate the vengeance of the king? What could he de- 
sire more? Why should his anger, which seemed 
slaked in 1664, burst forth into hotter flames seven- 
teen years later, and lead him to inflict a new punish- 
ment ? According to the bibliophile, the king being 
wearied by the continual petitions for pardon ad- 
dressed to him by the superintendent's family, or- 
dered them to be told that he was dead, to rid him- 
self of their supplications. Colbert's hatred, says 
he, was the immediate cause of Fouquet's fall; but 
even if this hatred hastened the catastrophe, are we 
to suppose that it pursued the delinquent beyond 
the sentence, through the long years of captivity, 
and, renewing its energy, infected the minds of the 
king and his councillors? If that were so, how 
shall we explain the respect shown by Louvois? 
Colbert would not have stood uncovered before 
Fouquet in prison. Why should Colbert's colleague 
have done so? 

It must, however, be confessed that of all existing 
theories, this one, thanks to the unlimited learning 
and research of the bibliophile, has the greatest 
number of documents with the various interpreta- 



tions thereof, the greatest profusion of dates, on 
its side. 

For it is certain — 

I St, that the precautions taken when Fouquet was 
sent to Pignerol resembled in every respect those 
employed later by the custodians of the Iron Mask, 
both at the lies Sainte-Marguerite and at the Bas- 
tille ; 

2nd, that the majority of the traditions relative 
to the masked prisoner might apply to Fouquet ; 

3rd, that the Iron Mask was first heard of imme- 
diately after the announcement of the death of 
Fouquet in 1680; 

4th, that there exists no irrefragable proof that 
Fouquet's death really occurred in the above year. 

The decree of the Court of Justice, dated 20th 
December 1664, banished Fouquet from the king- 
dom for life. " But the king was of the opinion 
that it would be dangerous to let the said Fouquet 
leave the country, in consideration of his intimate 
knowledge of the most important matters of state. 
Consequently the sentence of perpetual banishment 
was commuted into that of perpetual imprisonment " 
(Receitil des defenses de M. Fouquet). The in- 
structions signed by the king and remitted to Saint- 
Mars forbid him to permit Fouquet to hold any 



Spoken or written communication with anyone what- 
soever, or to leave his apartments for any cause, 
not even for exercise. The great mistrust felt by 
Louvois pervades all his letters to Saint-Mars. The 
precautions which he ordered to be kept up were 
quite as stringent as in the case of the Iron Mask. 

The report of the discovery of a shirt covered 
with writing, by a friar, which Abbe Papon men- 
tions, may perhaps be traced to the following ex- 
tracts from two letters written by Louvois to Saint- 
Mars : " Your letter has come to hand with the new 
handkerchief on which M. Fouquet has written " 
(i8th Dec. 1665) ; "You can tell him that if he 
continues to employ his table-linen as note-paper he 
must not be surprised if you refuse to supply him 
with any more" (21st Nov. 1667). 

Pere Papon asserts that a valet who served the 
masked prisoner died in his master's room. Now 
the man who waited on Fouquet, and who like him 
was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment, died in 
February 1680 (see letter of Louvois to Saint-Mars, 
I2th March 1680). Echoes of incidents which 
took place at Pignerol might have reached the ties 
Sainte-Marguerite when Saint-Mars transferred his 
" former prisoner " from one fortress to the other. 
The fine clothes and linen, the books, all those lux- 
uries in fact that were lavished on the masked pris- 
oner, were not withheld from Fouquet. The 



furniture of a second room at Plgnerol cost over 
1200 livres (see letters of Louvois, 12th Dec. 1665, 
and 22nd Feb. 1666). 

It is also known that until the year 1680 Saint- 
Mars had only two important prisoners at Pignerol, 
Fouquet and Lauzun. However, his " former pris- 
oner of Pignerol," according to Du Junca's diary, 
must have reached the latter fortress before the 
end of August 1681, when Saint-Mars went to Ex- 
illes as governor. So that it was in the interval 
between the 23rd March 1680, the alleged date of 
Fouquet's death, and the ist September 1681, that 
the Iron Mask appeared at Pignerol, and yet Saint- 
Mars took only two prisoners to Exilles. One of 
these was probably the Man in the Iron Mask; the 
other, who must have been Matthioli, died before 
the year 1687, for when Saint-Mars took over the 
governorship in the month of January of that year 
of the lies Sainte-Marguerite he brought only one 
prisoner thither with him. ** I have taken such good 
measures to guard my prisoner that I can answer 
to you for his safety " (Lettres de Saint-Mars a 
Louvois, 20th January 1687). 

In the correspondence of Louvois with Saint- 
Mars we find, it is true, mention of the death of 
Fouquet on March 23rd, 1680, but in his later 
correspondence Louvois never says " the late M. 
Fouquet," but speaks of him, as usual, as " M. Fou- 



quet " simply. Most historians have given as a 
fact that Fouquet was interred in the same vault 
as his father in the chapel of Saint-Franqois de Sales 
in the convent church belonging to the Sisters of 
the Order of the Visitation-Sainte-Marie, founded 
in the beginning of the seventeenth century by Ma- 
dame de Chantal. But proof to the contrary exists ; 
for the subterranean portion of St. Francis's chapel 
was closed in 1786, the last person interred there 
being Adelaide Felicite Brulard, with whom ended 
the house of Sillery. The convent was shut up in 
1790, and the church given over to the Protestants 
in 1S02; who continued to respect the tombs. In 
1836 the Cathedral chapter of Bourges claimed the 
remains of one of their archbishops buried there 
in the time of the Sisters of Sainte-Marie. On this 
occasion all the coffins were examined and all the 
inscriptions carefully copied, but the name of Nico- 
las Fouquet is absent. 

Voltaire says in his Dictionnaire philosophique, 
article " Ana," " It is most remarkable that no one 
knows where the celebrated Fouquet was buried." 

But in spite of all these coincidences, this care- 
fully constructed theory was wrecked on the same 
point on which the theory that the prisoner was 
either the Duke of Monmouth or the Comte de Ver- 
mandois came to grief, viz. a letter from Barbe- 
zieux, dated 13th August 1691, in which occur the 



words, " The prisoner whom you have had in" 
CHARGE FOR TWENTY YEARS." According to this 
testimony, which Jacob had successfully used 
against his predecessors, the prisoner referred to 
could not have been Fouquet, who completed his 
twenty-seventh year of captivity in 1691, if still 

We have now impartially set before our readers 
all the opinions which have been held in regard to 
the solution of this formidable enigma. For our- 
selves, we hold the belief that the Man in the Iron 
Mask stood on the steps of the throne. Although 
the mystery cannot be said to be definitely cleared 
up, one thing stands out firmly established among 
the mass of conjecture we have collected together, 
and that is, that wherever the prisoner appeared he 
was ordered to wear a mask on pain of death. His 
features, therefore, might during half a century 
have brought about his recognition from one end of 
France to the other; consequently, during the same 
space of time there existed in France a face resem- 
bling the prisoner's known through all her prov- 
inces, even to her most secluded isle. 

Whose face could this be, if not that of Louis 
XIV, twin-brother of the Man in the Iron Mask? 

To nullify this simple and natural conclusion 
strong evidence will be required. 

Our task has been limited to that of an examining 


judge at a trial, and we feel sure that our readers 
will not be sorry that we have left them to choose 
amid all the conflicting explanations of the puzzle. 
No consistent narrative that we might have con- 
cocted would, it seems to us, have been half as 
interesting to them as to allow them to follow the 
devious paths opened up by those who entered on 
the search for the heart of the mystery. Everything 
connected with the masked prisoner arouses the 
most vivid curiosity. And what end had we in 
view? Was it not to denounce a crime and to 
brand the perpetrator thereof? The facts as they 
stand are sufficient for our object, and speak more 
eloquently than if used to adorn a tale or to prove 
an ingenious theory. 




WE are sometimes astonished at the striking 
resemblance existing between two persons 
who are absolute strangers to each other, but in fact 
it is the opposite which ought to surprise us. In- 
deed, w^hy should we not rather admire a Creative 
Power so infinite in its variety that it never ceases 
to produce entirely different combinations with pre- 
cisely the same elements ? The more one considers 
this prodigious versatility of form, the more over- 
whelming it appears. 

To begin with, each nation has its own distinct 
and characteristic type, separating it from other 
races of men. Thus there are the English, Spanish, 
German, or Slavonic types; again, in each nation 
we find families distinguished from each other by 
less general but still well-pronounced features; and 
lastly, the individuals of each family, differing again 
in more or less marked gradations. What a multi- 
tude of physiognomies! What variety of impres- 
sion from the innumerable stamps of the human 
countenance! What millions of models and no 
copies! Considering this ever changing spectacle, 

2041 Dumas— Vol. G— I 


which ought to inspire us with most astonishment 
— the perpetual difference of faces or the accidental 
resemblance of a few individuals? Is it impossible 
that in the whole wide world there should be found 
by chance two people whose features are cast in one 
and the same mould? Certainly not; therefore that 
s which ought to surprise us is not that these dupli- 
cates exist here and there upon the earth, but that 
they are to be met with in the same place, and 
appear together before our eyes, little accustomed 
to see such resemblances. From Amphitryon down 
to our own days, many fables have owed their origin 
to this fact, and history also has provided a few 
examples, such as the false Demetrius in Russia, 
the English Perkin Warbeck, and several other 
celebrated impostors, whilst the story we now pre- 
sent to our readers is no less curious and strange. 

On the loth of August 1557, an inauspicious 
day in the history of France, the roar of cannon 
was still heard at six in the evening in the plains of 
St. Quentin ; where the French army had just been 
destroyed by the united troops of England and 
Spain, commanded by the famous Captain Emanuel 
Philibert, Duke of Savoy. An utterly beaten 
infantry, the Constable Montmorency and several 
generals taken prisoner, the Duke d'Enghien mor- 
tally wounded, the flower of the nobility cut down 
like grass, — such were the terrible results of a bat- 



tie which phinged France into mourning, and which 
would have been a blot on the reign of Henry ii, 
had not the Duke of Guise obtained a brilliant 
revenge the following year. 

In a little village less than a mile from the field 
of battle were to be heard the groans of the wounded 
and dying, who had been carried thither from the 
field of battle. The inhabitants had given up their 
houses to be used as hospitals, and two or three 
barber surgeons went hither and thither, hastily 
ordering operations which they left to their assist- 
ants, and driving out fugitives who had contrived 
to accompany the wounded under pretence of assist- 
ing friends or near relations. They had already 
expelled a good number of these poor fellows, when, 
opening the door of a small room, they found a 
soldier soaked in blood lying on a rough mat, and 
another soldier aparently attending on him with 
the utmost care. 

"Who are you?" said one of the surgeons to 
the sufferer. " I don't think you belong to our 
French troops." 

"Help!" cried the soldier, "only help me! and 
may God bless you for it! " 

" From the colour of that tunic," remarked the 
other surgeon, " I should wager the rascal belongs 
to some Spanish gentleman. By what blunder was 
he brought here ? " 



" For pity's sake ! " murmured the poor fellow : 
" I am in such pain." 

" Die, wretch! " responded the last speaker, push- 
ing him with his foot. " Die, like the dog you 

But this brutality, answered as it was by an agon- 
ised groan, disgusted the other surgeon. 

" After all, he is a man, and a wounded man who 
implores help. Leave him to me, Rene." 

Rene went out grumbling, and the one who 
remained proceeded to examine the wound. A ter- 
rible arquebus-shot had passed through the leg, 
shattering the bone: amputation was absolutely 

Before proceeding to the operation, the surgeon 
turned to the other soldier, who had retired into the 
darkest corner of the room. 

" And you, who may you be ? " he asked. 

The man replied by coming forward into the 
light : no other answer was needed. He resembled 
his companion so closely that no one could doubt 
they were brothers — twin brothers, probably. Both 
were above middle height ; both had olive-brown 
complexions, black eyes, hooked noses, pointed 
chins, a slightly projecting lower lip; both were 
round-shouldered, though this defect did not 
amount to disfigurement : the whole personality 
suggested strength, and was not destitute of mas- 



culine beauty. So strong a likeness is hardly ever 
seen; even their ages appeared to agree, for one 
would not have supposed either to be more than 
thirty-two; and the only difference noticeable, be- 
sides the pale countenance of the wounded man, 
was that he was thin as compared with the moderate 
fleshiness of the other, also that he had a large scar 
over the right eyebrow. 

" Look well after your brother's soul," said the 
surgeon to the soldier, who remained standing; " if 
it is in no better case than his body, it is much to 
be pitied." 

" Is there no hope ? " inquired the Sosia of the 
wounded man. 

"The wound is too large and too deep," replied 
the man of science, " to be cauterised with boiling 
oil, according to the ancient method. ' Delenda est 
causa mali,' the source of evil must be destroyed, 
as says the learned Ambrose Pare; I ought there- 
fore * secareferro,' — that is to say, take off the 
leg. May God grant that he survive the opera- 
tion! " 

While seeking his instruments, he looked the 
supposed brother full in the face, and added — 

" But how is it that you are carrying muskets in 
opposing armies, for I see that you belong to us, 
while this poor fellow wears Spanish uniform? " 

" Oh, that would be a long story to tell," replied 


the soldier, shaking his head. " As for me, I fol- 
lowed the career which was open to me, and took 
service of my own free willunder the banner of our 
lord king, Henry ii. This man, whom you rightly 
suppose to be my brother, was born in Biscay, and 
became attached to the household of the Cardinal 
of Burgos, and afterwards to the cardinal's brother, 
whom he was obliged to follow to the war. I recog- 
nised him on the battle-field just as he fell; I 
dragged him out of a heap of dead, and brought 
him here." 

During his recital this individual's features be- 
trayed considerable agitation, but the surgeon did 
not heed it. Not finding some necessary instru- 
ments, " My colleague," he exclaimed, " must have 
carried them off. He constantly does this, out of 
jealousy of my reputation; but I will be even with 
him yet! Such splendid instruments! They will 
almost work of themselves, and are capable of im- 
parting some skill even to him, dunce as he is ! . . . 
I shall be back in an hour or two ; he must rest, sleep, 
have nothing to excite him, nothing to inflame the 
wound; and when the operation is well over, we 
shall see ! May the Lord be gracious to him ! " 

Then he went to the door, leaving the poor 
wretch to the care of his supposed brother. 

" My God! " he added, shaking his head, " if he 
survive, it will be by the help of a miracle." 



Scarcely had he left the room, when the un- 
wounded soldier carefully examined the features of 
the wounded one. 

" Yes," he murmured between his teeth, " they 
were right in saying that my exact double was to be 
found in the hostile army. . . . Truly one would 
not know us apart ! . . . I might be surveying my- 
self in a mirror. I did well to look for him in the 
rear of the Spanish army, and, thanks to the fellow 
who rolled him over so conveniently with that 
arquebus-shot, I v/as able to escape the dangers of 
the melee by carrying him out of it." 

" But that's not all," he thought, still carefully 
studying the tortured face of the unhappy sufferer ; 
" it is not enough to have got out of that. I have 
absolutely nothing in the world, no home, no 
resources. Beggar by birth, adventurer by fortune, 
I have enlisted, and have consumed my pay ; I hoped 
for plunder, and here we are in full flight! What 
am I to do ? Go and drown myself ? No, certainly : 
a cannon-ball would be as good as that. But can't I 
profit by this chance, and obtain a decent position 
by turning to my own advantage this curious 
resemblance, and making some use of this man 
whom Fate has thrown in my way, and who has but 
a short time to live? " 

Arguing thus, he bent over the prostrate man 
with a cynical laugh : one might have thought he 



was Satan watching the departure of a soul too 
utterly lost to escape him. 

" Alas ! alas ! " cried the sufferer ; " may God have 
mercy on me ! I feel my end is near." 

" Bah ! comrade, drive away these dismal 
thoughts. Your leg pains you — well, they will cut 
it off! Think only of the other one, and trust in 
Providence ! " 

"Water, a drop of water, for Heaven's sake!" 
The sufferer was in a high fever. The would-be 
nurse looked round and saw a jug of water, towards 
which the dying man extended a trembling hand. 
A truly infernal idea entered his mind. He poured 
some water into a gourd which hung from his belt, 
held it to the lips of the wounded man, and then 
withdrew it. 

"Oh! I thirst — that water! . . . For pity's sake, 
give me some ! " 

" Yes, but on one condition — you must tell me 
your whole history." 

" Yes . , . but give me water ! " 

His tormentor allowed him to swallow a mouth- 
ful, then overwhelmed him with questions as to his 
family, his friends and fortune, and compelled him 
to answer by keeping before his eyes the water 
which alone could relieve the fever which devoured 
him. After this often interrupted interrogation, 
the sufferer sank back exhausted, and almost insen- 



sible. But, not yet satisfied, his companion con- 
ceived the idea of reviving him with a few drops 
of brandy, which quickly brought back the fever, 
and excited his brain sufficiently to enable him to 
answer fresh questions. The doses of spirit were 
doubled several times, at the risk of ending the 
unhappy man's days then and there. Almost delir- 
ious, his head feeling as if on fire, his sufferings 
gave way to a feverish excitement, which took him 
back to other places and other times : he began to 
recall the days of his youth and the country where 
he lived. But his tongue was still fettered by a 
kind of reserve : his secret thoughts, the private 
details of his past life were not yet told, and it 
seemed as though he might die at any moment. 
Time was passing, night already coming on, and it 
occurred to the merciless questioner to profit by the 
gathering darkness. By a few solemn words he 
aroused the religious feelings of the sufferer, ter- 
rified him by speaking of the punishments of an- 
other life and the flames of hell, until to the deliri- 
ous fancy of the sick man he took the form of a 
judge who could either deliver him to eternal dam- 
nation or open the gates of heaven to him. At 
length, overwhelmed by a voice which resounded 
in his ear like that of a minister of God, the dying 
man laid bare his inmost soul before his tormentor, 
and made his last confession to him. 



Yet a few moments, and the executioner — he de- 
serves no other name — hangs over his victim, opens 
his tunic, seizes some papers and a few coins, half 
draws his dagger, but thinks better of it ; then, con- 
temptuously spurning the victim, as the other sur- 
geon had done — 

" I might kill you," he says, " but it would be a 
useless murder ; it would only be hastening your last 
sigh by an hour or two, and advancing my claims 
to your inheritance by the same space of time." 

And he adds mockingly — 

" Farewell, my brother! " 

The wounded soldier utters a feeble groan; the 
adventurer leaves the room. 

• ••••••• 

Four months later, a woman sat at the door of a 
house at one end of the village of Artigues, near 
Rieux, and played with a child about nine or ten 
years of age. Still young, she had the brown com- 
plexion of Southern women, and her beautiful black 
hair fell in curls about her face. Her flashing eyes 
occasionally betrayed hidden passions, concealed, 
however, beneath an apparent indifference and lass- 
itude, and her wasted form seemed to acknowledge 
the existence of some secret grief. An observer 
would have divined a shattered life, a withered 
happiness, a soul grievously wounded. 

Her dress was that of a wealthy peasant; and 


she wore one of the long gowns with hanging 
sleeves which were in fashion in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The house in front of which she sat belonged 
to her, so also the immense field which adjoined the 
garden. Her attention was divided between the 
play of her son and the orders she was giving to 
an old servant, when an exclamation from the child 
startled her. 

"Mother!" he cried, "mother, there he is!" 
She looked where the child pointed, and saw a young 
boy turning the corner of the street. 

" Yes," continued the child, "that is the lad who, 
when I was playing with the other boys yesterday, 
called me all sorts of bad names." 

"What sort of names, my child?" 

" There was one I did not understand, but it must 
have been a very bad one, for the other boys all 
pointed at me, and left me alone. He called me — 
and he said it was only what his mother had told 
him — he called me a wicked bastard ! " 

His mother's face became purple with indigna- 
tion. "What!" she cried, "they dared! . . . 
What an insult!" 

" What does this bad word mean, mother ? " 
asked the child, half frightened by her anger. "Is 
that what they call poor children who have no 

His mother folded him in her arms. " Oh ! " she 


continued, " it is an infamous slander ! These peo- 
ple never saw your father, they have only been here 
six years, and this is the eighth since he v^^ent away, 
but this is abominable! We were married in that 
church, we came at once to live in this house, which 
was my marriage portion, and my poor Martin has 
relations and friends here who will not allow his 
wife to be insulted " 

" Say rather, his widow," interrupted a solemn 

" Ah ! uncle ! " exclaimed the woman, turning 
towards an old man who had just emerged from the 

" Yes, Bertrande," continued the new-comer, 
" you must get reconciled to the idea that my nephew 
has ceased to exist. I am sure he was not such a 
fool as to have remained all this time without let- 
ting us hear from him. He was not the fellow to 
go off at a tangent, on account of a domestic quar- 
rel which you have never vouchsafed to explain to 
me, and to retain his anger during all these eight 
years! Where did he go? What did he do? We 
none of us know, neither you nor I, nor anybody 
else. He is assuredly dead, and lies in some grave- 
yard far enough from here. May God have mercy 
on his soul ! " 

Bertrande, weeping, made the sign of the cross, 
and bowed her head upon her hands. 



" Good-bye, Sanxi," said the uncle, tapping the 
child's cheek. Sanxi turned sulkily away. 

There was certainly nothing specially attractive 
about the uncle : he belonged to a type which chil- 
dren instinctively dislike, false, crafty, with squint- 
ing eyes which continually appeared to contradict 
his honeyed tongue. 

" Bertrande," he said, " your boy is like his father 
before him, and only answers my kindness with 

" Forgive him," answered the mother ; " he is 
very young, and does not understand the respect 
due to his father's uncle. I will teach him better 
things ; he will soon learn that he ought to be grate- 
ful for the care you have taken of his little prop- 

" No doubt, no doubt," said the uncle, trying 
hard to smile. " I will give you a good account of 
it, for I shall only have to reckon with you two in 
future. Come, my dear, believe me, your husband 
is really dead, and you have sorrowed quite enough 
for a good-for-nothing fellow. Think no more 
of him." 

So saying, he departed, leaving the poor young 
woman a prey to the saddest thoughts. 

Bertrande de Rolls, naturally gifted with ex- 
treme sensibility, on which a careful education had 
imposed due restraint, had barely completed her 



twelfth year when she was married to Martin 
Guerre, a boy of about the same age, such pre- 
cocious unions being then not uncommon, especially 
in the Southern provinces. They were generally 
settled by considerations of family interest, assisted 
by the extremely early development habitual to the 
climate. The young couple lived for a long time 
as brother and sister, and Bertrande, thus early 
familiar with the idea of domestic happiness, be- 
stowed her whole affection on the youth whom she 
had been taught to regard as her life's companion. 
He was the Alpha and Omega of her existence ; all 
her love, all her thoughts, were given to him, and 
when their marriage was at length completed, the 
birth of a son seemed only another link in the 
already long existing bond of union. But, as many 
wise men have remarked, a uniform happiness, 
which only attaches women more and more, has 
often upon men a precisely contrary effect, and so 
it was with Martin Guerre. Of a lively and excit- 
able temperament, he wearied of a yoke which had 
been imposed so early, and, anxious to see the world 
and enjoy some freedom, he one day took advan- 
tage of a domestic difference, In which Bertrande 
owned herself to have been wrong, and left his 
house and family. He was sought and awaited in 
vain. Bertrande spent the first month in vainly 
expecting his return, then she betook herself to 



prayer; but Heaven appeared deaf to her supplica- 
tions, the truant returned not. She wished to go 
in search of him, but the world is wide, and no sin- 
gle trace remained to guide her. What torture 
for a tender heart! What suffering for a soul 
thirsting for love! What sleepless nights! What 
restless vigils! Years passed thus; her son was 
growing up, yet not a word reached her from the 
man she loved so much. She spoke often of him 
to the uncomprehending child, she sought to dis- 
cover his features in those of her boy, but though 
she endeavoured to concentrate her whole affection 
on her son, she realised that there is suffering which 
maternal love cannot console, and tears which it 
cannot dry. Consumed by the strength of the sor- 
row which ever dwelt in her heart, the poor woman 
was slowly wasting, worn out by the regrets of the 
past, the vain desires of the present, and the dreary 
prospect of the future. And now she had been 
openly insulted, her feelings as a mother wounded 
to the quick; and her husband's uncle, instead of 
defending and consoling her, could give only cold 
counsel and unsympathetic words! 

Pierre Guerre, indeed, was simply a thorough 
egotist. In his youth he had been charged with 
usury ; no one knew by what means he had become 
rich, for the little drapery trade which he called his 
profession did not appear to be very profitable. 



After his nephew's departure it seemed only natural 
that he should pose as the family guardian, and he 
applied himself to the task of increasing the little 
income, but without considering himself bound to 
give any account to Bertrande. So, once persuaded 
that Martin was no more, he was apparently not 
unwilling to prolong a situation so much to his own 

Night was fast coming on; in the dim twilight 
distant objects became confused and indistinct. It 
was the end of autumn, that melancholy season 
which suggests so many gloomy thoughts and re- 
calls so many blighted hopes. The child had gone 
into the house. Bertrande, still sitting at the door, 
resting her forehead on her hand, thought sadly of 
her uncle's words ; recalling in imagination the past 
scenes which they suggested, the time of their child- 
hood, when, married so young, they were as yet 
only playmates, prefacing the graver duties of life 
by innocent pleasures; then of the love which grew 
with their increasing age; then of how this love 
became altered, changing on her side into passion, 
on his into indifference. She tried to recollect him 
as he had been on the eve of his departure, young 
and handsome, carrying his head high, coming home 
from a fatiguing hunt and sitting by his son's 
cradle; and then also she remembered bitterly the 
jealous suspicions she had conceived, the anger with 



which she had allowed them to escape her, the con- 
sequent quarrel, followed by the disappearance of 
her offended husband, and the eight succeeding 
years of solitude and mourning. She wept over 
his desertion, over the desolation of her life, seeing 
around her only indifferent or selfish people, and 
caring only to live for her child's sake, who gave 
her at least a shadowy reflection of the husband she 
had lost. " Lost — yes, lost for ever ! " she said to 
herself, sighing, and looking again at the fields 
whence she had so often seen him coming at this 
same twilight hour, returning to his home for the 
evening meal. She cast a wandering eye on the 
distant hills, which showed a black outline against 
a yet fiery western sky, then let it fall on a little 
grove of olive trees planted on the farther side of 
the brook which skirted her dwelling. Everything 
was calm; approaching night brought silence along 
with darkness: it was exactly what she saw every 
evening, but to leave which required always an 

She rose to re-enter the house, when her atten- 
tion was caught by a movement amongst the trees. 
For a moment she thought she was mistaken, but 
the branches again rustled, then parted asunder, and 
the form of a man appeared on the other side of 
the brook. Terrified, Bertrande tried to scream, 
but not a sound escaped her lips; her voice seemed 



paralyzed by terror, as in an evil dream. And she 
almost thought it was a dream, for notwithstanding 
the dark shadows cast around this indistinct sem- 
blance, she seemed to recognise features once dear 
to her. Had her bitter reveries ended by making 
her the victim of a hallucination? She thought her 
brain was giving way, and sank on her knees to 
pray for help. But the figure remained; it stood 
motionless, with folded arms, silently gazing at her ! 
Then she thought of witchcraft, of evil demons, and 
superstitious as every one was in those days, she 
kissed a crucifix which hung from her neck, and 
fell fainting on the ground. With one spring the 
phantom crossed the brook and stood beside her. 

"Bertrande!" it said in a voice of emotion. 
She raised her head, uttered a piercing cry, and was 
clasped in her husband's arms. 

The whole village became aware of this event 
that same evening. The neighbours crowded round 
Bertrande's door, Martin's friends and relations 
naturally wishing to see him after this miraculous 
reappearance, while those who had never known 
him desired no less to gratify their curiosity; so 
that the hero of the little drama, instead of remain- 
ing quietly at home with his wife, was obliged to 
exhibit himself publicly In a neighbouring barn. 
His four sisters burst through the crowd and fell 
on his neck weeping ; his uncle examined him doubt- 



fully at first, then extended his arms. Everybody 
recognised him, beginning with the old servant 
Marguerite, who had been with the young couple 
ever since their wedding-day. People observed only 
that a riper age had strengthened his features, and 
given more character to his countenance and more 
development to his powerful figure; also that he 
had a scar over the right eyebrow, and that he 
limped slightly. These were the marks of wounds 
he had received, he said, which now no longer 
troubled him. He appeared anxious to return to his 
wife and child, but the crowd insisted on hearing 
the story of his adventures during his voluntary 
absence, and he was obliged to satisfy them. Eight 
years ago, he said, the desire to see more of the 
world had gained an irresistible mastery over him ; 
he yielded to it, and departed secretly. A natural 
longing took him to his birthplace in Biscay, where 
he had seen his surviving relatives. There he met 
the Cardinal of Burgos, who took him into his ser- 
vice, promising him profit, hard knocks to give and 
take, and plenty of adventure. Some time after, he 
left the cardinal's household for that of his brother, 
who, much against his will, compelled him to follow 
him to the war and bear arms against the French. 
Thus he found himself on the Spanish side on the 
day of St. Qucntin, and received a terrible gun-shot 
wound in the leg. Being carried into a house in an 



adjoining village, he fell into the hands of a sur- 
geon, who insisted that the leg must be amputated 
immediately, but who left him for a moment, and 
never returned. Then he encountered a good old 
woman, who dressed his wound and nursed him 
night and day. So that in a few weeks he recovered, 
and was able to set out for Artigues, too thankful 
to return to his house and land, still more to his 
wife and child, and fully resolved never to leave 
them again. 

Having ended his story, he shook hands with his 
still wondering neighbours, addressing by name 
some who had been very young when he left, and 
who, hearing their names, came forward now as 
grown men, hardly recognisable, but much pleased 
at being remembered. He returned his sisters' ca- 
resses, begged his uncle's forgiveness for the trouble 
he had given in his boyhood, recalling w^ith mirth 
the various corrections received. He mentioned also 
an Augustinian monk who had taught him to read, 
and another reverend father, a Capuchin, whose 
irregular conduct had caused much scandal in the 
neighbourhood. In short, notwithstanding his pro- 
longed absence, he seemed to have a perfect recol- 
lection of places, persons, and things. The good 
people overwhelmed him with congratulations, vy- 
ing with one another in praising him for having the 
good sense to come home, and in describing the grief 



and the perfect virtue of his Bertrande. Emotion 
was excited, many wept, and several bottles from 
Martin Guerre's cellar were emptied. At length the 
assembly dispersed, uttering many exclamations 
about the extraordinary chances of Fate, and retired 
to their own homes, excited, astonished, and grati- 
fied, with the one exception of old Pierre Guerre, 
who had been struck by an unsatisfactory remark 
made by his nephew, and who dreamed all night 
about the chances of pecuniary loss augured by the 
latter's return. 

It was midnight before the husband and wife 
were alone and able to give vent to their feelings. 
Bertrande still felt half stupefied; she could not 
believe her own eyes and ears, nor realise that she 
saw again in her marriage chamber her husband of 
eight years ago, him for whom she had wept, whose 
death she had deplored only a few hours previously. 
In the sudden shock caused by so much joy succeed- 
ing so much grief, she had not been able to express 
what she felt; her confused ideas were difficult to 
explain, and she seemed deprived of the powers of 
speech and reflection. When she became calmer 
and more capable of analysing her feelings, she 
was astonished not to feel towards her husband the 
same affection which had moved her so strongly 
a few hours before. It was certainly himself, those 
were the same features, that was the man to whom 



she had willingly given her hand, her heart, herself, 
and yet now that she saw him again a cold barrier 
of shyness, of modesty, seemed to have risen be- 
tween them. His first kiss, even, had not made her 
happy: she blushed and felt saddened — a curious 
result of the long absence! She could not define 
the changes wrought by years in his appearance : his 
countenance seemed harsher, yet the lines of his 
face, his outer man, his whole personality, did not 
seem altered, but his soul had changed its nature, 
a different mind looked forth from those eyes. 
Bertrande knew him for her husband, and yet she 
hesitated. Even so Penelope, on the return of 
Ulysses, required a certain proof to confirm the evi- 
dence of her eyes, and her long absent husband had 
to remind her of secrets known only to herself. 

Martin, however, as if he understood Bertrande's 
feeling and divined some secret mistrust, used the 
most tender and affectionate phrases, and even the 
very pet names which close intimacy had formerly 
endeared to them. 

" My queen," he said, " my beautiful dove, can 
you not lay aside your resentment? Is it still so 
strong that no submission can soften it? Cannot 
my repentance find grace in your eyes? My Ber- 
trande, my Bertha, my Bertranilla, as I used to 
call you." 

She tried to smile, but stopped short, puzzled; 


the names were the very same, but the inflexion of 
voice quite different. 

Martin took her hands in his. " What pretty 
hands! Do you still wear my ring? Yes, here it 
is, and with it the sapphire ring I gave you the day 
Sanxi was born." 

Bertrande did not answer, but she took the child 
and placed him in his father's arms. 

Martin showered caresses on his son, and spoke 
of the time when he carried him as a baby in the 
garden, lifting him up to the fruit trees, so that he 
could reach and try to bite the fruit. He recollected 
one day when the poor child got his leg terribly 
torn by thorns, and convinced himself, not without 
emotion, that the scar could still be seen. 

Bertrande was touched by this display of affec- 
tionate recollections, and felt vexed at her own cold- 
ness. She came up to Martin and laid her hand in 
his. He said gently — 

" My departure caused you great grief : I now 
repent what I did. But I was young, I was proud, 
and your reproaches were unjust." 

"Ah!" said she, "you have not forgotten the 
cause of our quarrel ? " 

" It was little Rose, our neighbour, whom you 

said I was making love to, because you found us 

together at the spring in the little wood. I explained 

that we met only by chance, — besides, she was only 



a child, — but you would not listen, and in your 
anger " 

" Ah ! forgive me, Martin, forgive me ! " she 
interrupted, in confusion. 

" In your blind anger you took up, I know not 
what, something which lay handy, and flung it at 
me. And here is the mark," he continued, smiling, 
" this scar, which is still to be seen." 

" Oh, Martin ! " Bertrande exclaimed, " can you 
ever forgive me? " 

" As you see," IMartin replied, kissing her ten- 

Much moved, Bertrande swept aside his hair, and 
looked at the scar visible on his forehead. 

" But," she said, with surprise not free from 
alarm, " this scar seems to me like a fresh one," 

" Ah ! " Martin explained, with a little embar- 
rassment ; " it reopened lately. But I had thought 
no more about it. Let us forget it, Bertrande; I 
should not like a recollection which might make you 
think yourself less dear to me than you once were." 

And he drew her upon his knee. She repelled 
him gently. 

"Send the child to bed," said Martin. "To- 
morrow shall be for him; to-night you have the 
first place, Bertrande, you only." 

The boy kissed his father and went. 

Bertrande came and knelt beside her husband, 


regarding him attentively with an uneasy smile, 
which did not appear to please him by any means. 

" What is the matter? " said he. " Why do you 
examine me thus ? " 

" I do not know — forgive me, oh ! forgive me ! 
. . . But the happiness of seeing you was so great 
and unexpected, it is all like a dream. I must try 
to become accustomed to it; give me some time to 
collect myself; let me spend this night in prayer. 
I ought to offer my joy and my thanksgiving to 
Almighty God " 

" Not so," interrupted her husband, passing his 
arms round her neck and stroking- her beautiful 
hair. " No ; 'tis to me that your first thoughts are 
due. After so much weariness, my rest is in again 
beholding you, and my happiness after so many 
trials will be found in your love. That hope has 
supported me throughout, and I long to be assured 
that it is no illusion," So saying, he endeavoured 
to raise her. 

" Oh," she murmured, " I pray you leave me." 

" What ! " he exclaimed angrily. " Bertrande, is 
this your love? Is it thus you keep faith with me? 
You will make me doubt the evidence of your 
friends; you will make me think that indifference, 
or even another love " 

" You insult me," said Bertrande, rising to her feet. 

He caught her in his arms. "No, no; I think 


nothing which could wound you, my queen, and I 
believe your fidelity, even as before, you know, on 
that first journey, when you wrote me these loving 
letters which I have treasured ever smce. Here 
they are." And he drew forth some papers, on 
which Bertrande recognised her own handwriting. 
" Yes," he continued, " I have read and re-read 
them. See, you spoke then of your love and the 
sorrows of absence. But why all this trouble and 
terror? You tremble, just as you did when I first 
received you from your father's hands. ... It was 
here, in this very room. . . . You begged me then 
to leave you, to let you spend the night in prayer; 
but I insisted, do you remember ? and pressed you to 
my heart, as I do now." 

" Oh," she murmured weakly, *' have pity! " 
But the words were intercepted by a kiss, and the 
remembrance of the past, the happiness of the pres- 
ent, resumed their sway; the imaginary terrors were 
forgotten, and the curtains closed around the mar- 

The next day was a festival in the village of 
Artigues. Martin returned the visits of all who had 
come to welcome him the previous night, and there 
were endless recognitions and embracings. The 
young men remembered that he had played with 
them when they were little; the old men, that they 
had been at his wedding when he was only twelve. 



The women remembered having envied Bertrande, 
especially the pretty Rose, daughter of Marcel, the 
apothecary, she who had roused the demon of 
jealousy in the poor wife's heart. And Rose knew 
quite well that the jealousy was not without some 
cause; for Martin had indeed shown her attention, 
and she was unable to see him again without emo- 
tion. She was now the wife of a rich peasant, ugly, 
old, and jealous, and she compared, sighing, her 
unhappy lot with that of her more fortunate neigh- 
bour. Martin's sisters detained him amongst them, 
and spoke of their childish games and of their 
parents, both dead in Biscay. Martin dried the tears 
which flowed at these recollections of the past, and 
turned their thoughts to rejoicing. Banquets were 
given and received. Martin invited all his relations 
and former friends; an easy gaiety prevailed. It 
was remarked that the hero of the feast refrained 
from wine; he was thereupon reproached, but 
answered that on account of the wounds he had 
received he was obliged to avoid excess. The excuse 
was admitted, the result of Martin's precautions 
being that he kept a clear head on his shoulders, 
while all the rest had their tongues loosed by drunk- 

" Ah ! " exclaimed one of the guests, who had 
studied a little medicine, " Martin is quite right to 
be afraid of drink. Wounds which have thoroughly 



healed may be reopened and inflamed by intemper- 
ance, and wine in the case of recent wounds is 
deadly poison. Men have died on the field of battle 
in an hour or two merely because they had swal- 
lowed a little brandy." 

Martin Guerre grew pale, and began a conversa- 
tion with the pretty Rose, his neighbour. Bertrande 
observed this, but without uneasiness; she had 
suffered too much from her former suspicions, be- 
sides her husband showed her so much affection that 
she was now quite happy. 

When the first few days were over, Martin began 
to look into his affairs. His property had suffered 
by his long absence, and he was obliged to go to 
Biscay to claim his little estate there, the law having 
already laid hands upon it. It was several months 
before, by dint of making judicious sacrifices, he 
could regain possession of the house and fields which 
had belonged to his father. This at last accom- 
plished, he returned to Artigues, in order to resume 
the management of his wife's property, and with 
this end in view, about eleven months after his 
return, he paid a visit to his uncle Pierre. 

Pierre was expecting him; he was extremely 
polite, desired Martin to sit down, overwhelmed 
him with compliments, knitting his brows as he 
discovered that his nephew decidedly meant business. 
Martin broke silence. 



" Uncle," he said, " I come to thank you for the 
care you have taken of my wife's property; she 
could never have managed it alone. You have 
received the income in the family interest : as a good 
guardian, I expected no less from your affection. 
But now that I have returned, and am free from 
other cares, we will go over the accounts, if you 

His uncle coughed and cleared his voice before 
replying, then said slowly, as if counting his words — 

" It is all accounted for, my dear nephew ; Heaven 
be praised ! I don't owe you anything." 

" What ! " exclaimed the astonished Martin, " but 
the whole income? " 

" Was well and properly employed in the main- 
tenance of your wife and child." 

" What ! a thousand livres for that ? And Ber- 
trande lived alone, so quietly and simply ! Nonsense ! 
it is impossible." 

" Any surplus," resumed the old man, quite un- 
moved, — " any surplus went to pay the expenses of 
seed-time and harvest." 

" What ! at a time when labour costs next to 
nothing? " 

" Here is the account," said Pierre. 

" Then the account is a false one," returned his 

Pierre thought it advisable to appear extremely 


offended and angry, and Martin, exasperated at his 
evident dishonesty, took still higher ground, and 
threatened to bring an action against him. Pierre 
ordered him to leave the house, and suiting actions 
to words, took hold of his arm to enforce his 
departure. Martin, furious, turned and raised his 
fist to strike. 

"What! strike your uncle, wretched boy!" ex- 
claimed the old man. 

Martin's hand dropped, but he left the house utter- 
ing reproaches and insults, among which Pierre 
distinguished : 

" Cheat that you are ! " 

" That is a word I shall remember," cried the 
angry old man, slamming his door violently. 

Martin brought an action before the judge at 
Rieux, and in course of time obtained a decree, 
which, reviewing the accounts presented by Pierre, 
disallowed them, and condemned the dishonest 
guardian to pay his nephew four hundred livres for 
each year of his administration. The day on which 
this sum had to be disbursed from his strong box 
the old usurer vowed vengeance, but until he could 
gratify his hatred he was forced to conceal it, and 
to receive attempts at reconciliation with a friendly 
smile. It was not until six months later, on the 
occasion of a joyous festivity, that Martin again set 
foot in his uncle's house. The bells were ringing 



for the birth of a child, there was great gaiety at 
Bertrande's house, where all the guests were waiting 
on the threshold for the godfather in order to take 
the infant to church, and when Martin appeared, 
escorting his uncle, who was adorned with a huge 
bouquet for the occasion, and who now came for- 
ward and took the hand of Rose, the pretty god- 
mother, there were cries of joy on all sides. Ber- 
trande was delighted at this reconciliation, and 
dreamed only of happiness. She was so happy now, 
her long sorrow was atoned for, her regret was at 
an end, her prayers seemed to have been heard, the 
long interval between the former delights and the 
present seemed wiped out as if the bond of union 
had never been broken, and if she remembered her 
grief at all, it was only to intensify the new joys 
by comparison. She loved her husband more than 
ever; he was full of affection for her, and she was 
grateful for his love. The past had now no shadow, 
the future no cloud, and the birth of a daughter, 
drawing still closer the links which united them, 
seemed a new pledge of felicity. Alas! the horizon 
which appeared so bright and clear to the poor 
woman was doomed soon again to be overcast. 

The very evening of the christening party, a band 
of musicians and jugglers happened to pass through 
the village, and the inhabitants showed themselves 
liberal. Pierre asked questions, and found that the 



leader ol the band was a Spaniard. He invited the 
man to his own house, and remained closeted with 
him for nearly an hour, dismissing him at length 
with a refilled purse. Two days later the old man 
announced to the family that he was going to 
Picardy to see a former partner on a matter of busi- 
ness, and he departed accordingly, saying he should 
return before long. 

The day on which Bertrande again saw her uncle 
was, indeed, a terrible one. She was sitting by the 
cradle of the lately-born infant, watching for its 
awakening, when the door opened, and Pierre 
Guerre strode in. Bertrande drew back with an 
instinct of terror as soon as she saw him, for his 
expression was at once wicked and joyful — an ex- 
pression of gratified hate, of mingled rage and 
triumph, and his smile was terrible to behold. She 
did not venture to speak, but motioned him to a seat. 
He came straight up to her, and raising his head, 
said loudly — 

" Kneel down at once, madame — kneel down, and 
ask pardon from Almighty God ! " 

" Are you mad, Pierre ? " she replied, gazing at 
him in astonishment. 

" You, at least, ought to know that I am not." 

"Pray for forgiveness — I — ! and what for, in 
Heaven's name ? " 

" For the crime in which you are an accomplice." 


" Please explain yourself." 

" Oh ! " said Pierre, with bitter irony, " a woman 
always thinks herself innocent as long as her sin is 
hidden; she thinks the truth will never be known, 
and her conscience goes quietly to sleep, forgetting 
her faults. Here is a woman who thought her sins 
nicely concealed; chance favoured her: an absent 
husband, probably no more ; another man so exactly 
like him in height, face, and manner that everyone 
else is deceived ! Is it strange that a weak, sensitive 
woman, wearied of widowhood, should willingly 
allow herself to be imposed on? " 

Bertrande listened without understanding; she 
tried to interrupt, but Pierre went on — 

" It was easy to accept this stranger without 
having to blush for it, easy to give him the name and 
the rights of a husband! She could even appear 
faithful while really guilty ; she could seem constant, 
though really fickle; and she could, under a veil of 
mystery, at once reconcile her honour, her duty — 
perhaps even her love." 

" What on earth do you mean? " cried Bertrande, 
wringing her hands in terror. 

" That you are countenancing an impostor who is 
not your husband." 

Feeling as if the ground were passing from 
beneath her, Bertrande staggered, and caught at the 
nearest piece of furniture to save herself from fall- 

^^73 Dumas— Vol. G— J 


ing; then, collecting all her strength to meet this 
extraordinary attack, she faced the old man, 

" What ! my husband, your nephew, an im- 
postor! " 

"Don't you know it?" 

This cry, which came from her heart, convinced 
Pierre that she did not know, and that she had sus- 
tained a terrible shock. He continued more 
quietly — 

" What, Bertrande, is it possible you were really 
deceived ? " 

" Pierre, you are killing me ; your words are tor- 
ture. No more mystery, I entreat. What do you 
know? What do you suspect? Tell me plainly at 

" Have you courage to hear it ? " 

" I must," said the trembling woman. 

" God is my witness that I would willingly have 
kept it from you, but you must know; if only for 
the safety of your soul entangled in so deadly a 
snare, . . . there is yet time, if you follow my 
advice. Listen : the man with whom you are living, 
who dares to call himself Martin Guerre, is a cheat, 
an impostor " 

" How dare you say so ? " 

"Because"! have discovered it. Yes, I had always 
a vague suspicion, an uneasy feeling, and in spite of 



the marvellous resemblance I could never feel as if 
he were really my sister's child. The day he raised 
his hand to strike me — yes, that day I condemned 
him utterly. . . . Chance has justified me! A wan- 
dering Spaniard, an old soldier, who spent a night 
in the village here, was also present at the battle of 
St. Quentin, and saw Martin Guerre receive a terri- 
ble gunshot wound in the leg. After the battle, be- 
ing wounded, he betook himself to the neighbouring 
village, and distinctly heard a surgeon in the next 
room say that a wounded man must have his leg 
amputated, and would very likely not survive the 
operation. The door opened, he saw the sufferer, 
and knew him for Martin Guerre. So much the 
Spaniard told me. Acting on this information, I 
went on pretence of business to the village he named, 
I questioned the inhabitants, and this is what I 

" ^^^ell? " said Bertrande, pale, and gasping with 

"I learned that the wounded man had his leg taken 
off, and, as the surgeon predicted, he must have died 
in a few hours, for he was never seen again." 

Bertrande remained a few moments as if anni- 
hilated by this appalling revelation ; then, endeavor- 
ing to repel the horrible thought — 

" No," she cried, " no, it is impossible ! It is a lie 
intended to ruin him — to ruin us all." 


" What ! you do not believe me ? " 

" No, never, never ! " 

" Say rather you pretend to disbelieve me : the 
truth has pierced your heart, but you wish to deny 
it. Think, however, of the danger to your immortal 

" Silence, wretched man ! . . . No, God would 
not send me so terrible a trial. What proof can you 
show of the truth of your words? " 

" The witnesses I have mentioned." 

" Nothing more?" 

" No, not as yet." 

" Fine proofs indeed ! The story of a vagabond 
who flattered your hatred in hope of a reward, the 
gossip of a distant village, the recollections of ten 
years back, and finally, your own word, the word 
of a man who seeks only revenge, the word of a man 
who swore to make Martin pay dearly for the 
results of his own avarice, a man of furious passions 
such as yours ! No, Pierre, no, I do not believe you, 
and I never will ! " 

" Other people may perhaps be less incredulous, 
and if I accuse him publicly " 

" Then I shall contradict you publicly ! " And 
coming quickly forward, her eyes shining with 
virtuous anger — 

" Leave this house, go," she said ; " it is you your- 
self who are the impostor — go ! " 



" I shall yet know how to convince everyone, and 
will make you acknowledge it," cried the furious 
old man. 

He went out, and Bertrande sank exhausted into 
a chair. All the strength which had supported her 
against Pierre vanished as soon as she was alone, 
and in spite of her resistance to suspicion, the terri- 
ble light of doubt penetrated her heart, and extin- 
guished the pure torch of trustfulness which had 
guided her hitherto — a doubt, alas ! which attacked 
at once her honour and her love, for she loved with 
all a woman's tender affection. Just as actual poison 
gradually penetrates and circulates through the 
whole system, corrupting the blood and affecting the 
very sources of life until it causes the destruction of 
the whole body, so does that mental poison, suspi- 
cion, extend its ravages in the soul which has 
received it. Bertrande remembered with terror her 
first feelings at the sight of the returned Martin 
Guerre, her involuntary repugnance, her astonish- 
ment at not feeling more in touch with the husband 
whom she had so sincerely regretted. She remem- 
bered also, as if she saw it for the first time, that 
Martin, formerly quick, lively, and hasty tempered, 
now seemed thoughtful, and fully master of himself. 

This change of character she had supposed due to 
the natural development of age, she now trembled 
at the idea of another possible cause. Some other 



little details began to occur to her mind — the forget- 
fulness or abstraction of her husband as to a few 
insignificant things; thus it sometimes happened 
that he did not answer to his name of Martin, also 
that he mistook the road to a hermitage, formerly 
well known to them both, and again that he could not 
answer when addressed in Basque, although he him- 
self had taught her the little she knew of this 
language. Besides, since his return, he would never 
write in her presence, did he fear that she would 
notice some difference? She had paid Httle or no 
attention to these trifles ; now, pieced together, they 
assumed an alarming importance. An appalling 
terror seized Bertrande: was she to remain in this 
uncertainty, or should she seek an explanation which 
might prove her destruction? And how discover 
the truth — by questioning the guilty man, by noting 
his confusion, his change of colour, by forcing a 
confession from him? But she had lived with him 
for two years, he was the father of her child, she 
could not ruin him without ruining herself, and, an 
explanation once sought, she could neither punish 
him and escape disgrace, nor pardon him without 
sharing his guilt. To reproach him with his conduct 
and then keep silence would destroy her peace for 
ever; to cause a scandal by denouncing him would 
bring dishonour upon herself and her child. Night 
found her involved in these hideous perplexities, too 


weak to surmount them ; an icy chill came over her, 
she went to bed, and awoke in a high fever. For sev- 
eral days she hovered between life and death, and 
Martin Guerre bestowed the most tender care upon 
her. She was greatly moved thereby, having one of 
those impressionable minds which recognise kind- 
ness fully as much as injury. When she was a little 
recovered and her mental power began to return, she 
had only a vague recollection of what had occurred, 
and thought she had had a frightful dream. She 
asked if Pierre Guerre had been to see her, and found 
he had not been near the house. This could only be 
explained by the scene which had taken place, and 
she then recollected all — the accusation Pierre had 
made, her own observations which had confirmed it, 
all her grief and trouble. She inquired about the 
village news. Pierre, evidently, had kept silence — 
why? Had he seen that his suspicions were unjust, 
or was he only seeking further evidence ? She sank 
back into her cruel uncertainty, and resolved to 
watch Martin closely, before deciding as to his guilt 
or innocence. 

How was she to suppose that God had created two 
faces so exactly alike, two beings precisely similar, 
and then sent them together into the world, and on 
the same track, merely to compass the ruin of an 
unhappy woman! A terrible idea took possession 
of her mind, an idea not uncommon in an age of 



superstition, namely, that the Enemy himself could 
assume human form, and could borrow the sem- 
blance of a dead man in order to capture another 
soul for his infernal kingdom. Acting on this idea, 
she hastened to the church, paid for masses to be 
said, and prayed fervently. She expected every day 
to see the demon forsake the body he had animated, 
but her vows, offerings, and prayers had no result. 
But Heaven sent her an idea which she wondered 
had not occurred to her sooner. "If the Tempter," 
she said to herself, "has taken the form of my 
beloved husband, his power being supreme for evil, 
the resemblance would be exact, and no difference, 
however slight, would exist. If, however, it is only 
another man who resembles him, God must have 
made them with some slight distinguishing marks." 
She then remembered, what she had not thought 
of before, having been quite unsuspicious before her 
uncle's accusation, and nearly out of her mind be- 
tween mental and bodily suffering since. She 
remembered that on her husband's left shoulder, 
almost on the neck, there used to be one of those 
small, almost imperceptible, but ineffaceable birth- 
marks. Martin wore his hair very long, it was 
difficult to see if the mark were there or not. One 
night, while he slept, Bertrande cut away a lock of 
hair from the place where this sign ought to be— it 
was not there ! 



Convinced at length of the deception, Bertrande 
suffered inexpressible anguish. This man whom she 
had loved and respected for two whole years, whom 
she had taken to her heart as a husband bitterly- 
mourned for — this man was a cheat, an infamous 
impostor, and she, all unknowing, was yet a guilty 
woman! Her child was illegitimate, and the curse 
of Heaven was due to this sacrilegious union. To 
complete the misfortune, she was already expecting 
another infant. She would have killed herself, but 
her religion and the love of her children forbade it. 
Kneeling before her child's cradle, she entreated 
pardon from the father of the one for the father of 
the other. She would not bring herself to proclaim 
aloud their infamy. 

" Oh ! " she said, " thou whom I loved, thou who 
art no more, thou knowest no guilty thought ever 
entered my mind ! When I saw this man, I thought 
I beheld thee ; when I was happy, I thought I owed 
it to thee ; it was thee whom I loved in him. Surely 
thou dost not desire that by a public avowal I should 
bring shame and disgrace on these children and on 

She rose calm and strengthened : it seemed as if 
a heavenly inspiration had marked out her duty. 
To suffer in silence, such was the course she 
adopted, — a life of sacrifice and self-denial which 
she offered to God as an expiation for her invol- 



untary sin. But who can understand the workings 
of the human heart ? This man whom she ought to 
have loathed, this man who had made her an inno- 
cent partner in his crime, this unmasked impostor 
whom she should have beheld only with disgust, 
she — loved him! The force of habit, the ascendancy 
he had obtained over her, the love he had shown her, 
a thousand sympathies felt in her inmost heart, all 
these had so much influence, that, instead of accus- 
ing and cursing him, she sought to excuse him on 
the plea of a passion to which, doubtless, he had 
yielded when usurping the name and place of 
another. She feared punishment for him yet more 
than disgrace for herself, and though resolved to 
no longer allow him the rights purchased by crime, 
she yet trembled at the idea of losing his love. It 
was this above all which decided her to keep eternal 
silence about her discovery; one single word which 
proved that his imposture was known would raise 
an insurmountable barrier between them. 

To conceal her trouble entirely was, however, be- 
yond her power; her eyes frequently showed traces 
of her secret tears. Martin several times asked the 
cause of her sorrow; she tried to smile and excuse 
herself, only immediately sinking back into her 
gloomy thoughts. Martin thought it mere caprice; 
he observed her loss of colour, her hollow cheeks, 
and concluded that age was impairing her beauty, 



and became less attentive to her. His absences 
became longer and more frequent, and he did 
not conceal his impatience and annoyance at 
being watched; for her looks hung upon his, 
and she observed his coldness and change with 
much grief. Having sacrificed all in order to retain 
his love, she now saw it slowly slipping away from 

Another person also observed attentively. Pierre 
Guerre since his explanation with Bertrande had 
apparently discovered no more evidence, and did not 
dare to bring an accusation without some positive 
proofs. Consequently he lost no chance of watching 
the proceedings of his supposed nephew, silently 
hoping that chance might put him on the track of a 
discovery. He also concluded from Bertrande's 
state of melancholy that she had convinced herself of 
the fraud, but had resolved to conceal it. 

Martin was then endeavoring to sell a part of his 
property, and this necessitated frequent interviews 
with the lawyers of the neighbouring town. Twice 
in the week he went to Rieux, and to make the 
journey easier, used to start on horseback about 
seven in the evening, sleep at Rieux, and return the 
following afternoon. This arrangement did not 
escape his enemy's notice, who was not long in con- 
vincing himself that part of the time ostensibly spent 
on this journey was otherwise employed. 



Towards ten o'clock on the evening of a dark 
night, the door of a small house lying about half a 
gunshot from the village opened gently for the exit 
of a man wrapped in a large cloak, followed by a 
young woman, who accompanied him some distance. 
Arrived at the parting point, they separated with a 
tender kiss and a few murmured words of adieu; 
the lover took his horse, which was fastened to a 
tree, mounted, and rode off towards Rieux. When 
the sounds died away, the woman turned slowly 
and sadly towards her home, but as she approached 
the door a man suddenly turned the corner of the 
house and barred her away. Terrified, she was on 
the point of crying for help, when he seized her arm 
and ordered her to be silent 

" Rose," he whispered, " I know everything: that 
man is your lover. In order to receive him safely, 
you send your old husband to sleep by means of a 
drug stolen from your father's shop. This intrigue 
has been going on for a month ; tv/ice a week, at 
seven o'clock, your door is opened to this man, who 
does not proceed on his way to the town until ten. 
I know your lover: he is my nephew." 

Petrified with terror, Rose fell on her knees and 
implored mercy. 

" Yes," replied Pierre, " you may well be fright- 
ened : I have your secret. I have only to publish it 
and you are ruined for ever." 



" You will not do it ! " entreated the guilty 
woman, clasping her hands. 

" I have only to tell your husband," continued 
Pierre, " that his wife has dishonoured him, and to 
explain the reason of his unnaturally heavy sleep." 

"He will kill me!" 

" No doubt : he is jealous, he is an Italian, he will 
know how to avenge himself — even as I do." 

" But I never did you any harm," Rose cried in 
despair, " Oh ! have pity, have mercy, and spare 

" On one condition." 

"What is it?" 

" Come with me." 

Terrified almost out of her mind, Rose allowed 
him to lead her away. 

Bertrande had just finished her evening prayer, 
and was preparing for bed, when she was startled 
by several knocks at her door. Thinking that per- 
haps some neighbour was in need of help, she 
opened it immediately, and to her astonishment 
beheld a dishevelled woman whom Pierre grasped 
by the arm. He exclaimed vehemently — 

"Here is thy judge! Now, confess all to Ber- 

Bertrande did not at once recognise the woman, 
who fell at her feet, overcome by Pierre's threats. 

" Tell the truth here," he continued, " or I go 


and tell it to your husband, at your own home ! " 

" Ah ! madame, kill me," said the unhappy crea- 
ture, hiding her face ; " let me rather die by your 
hand than his! " 

Bertrande, bewildered, did not understand the 
position in the least, but she recognised Rose. 

" But what is the matter, madame ? Why are 
you here at this hour, pale and weeping? Why has 
my uncle dragged you hither? I am to judge you, 
does he say? Of what crime are you guilty? " 

" Martin might answer that, if he were here,*' 
remarked Pierre. 

A lightning flash of jealousy shot through Ber- 
trande's soul at these words, all her former sus- 
picions revived. 

"What!" she said, "my husband! What do 
you mean ? " 

" That he left this woman's house only a little 
while ago, that for a month they have been meeting 
secretly. You are betrayed : I have seen them, and 
she does not dare to deny it." 

" Have mercy! " cried Rose, still kneeling. 

The cry was a confession. Bertrande became 
pale as death. " O God ! " she murmured, " de- 
ceived, betrayed — and by him ! " 

" For a month past," repeated the old man. 

" Oh! the wretch," she continued, with increasing 
passion ; " then his whole life is a lie ! He has abused 



my credulity, he now abuses my love ! He does not 
know me! He thinks he can trample on me — me, 
in whose power are his fortune, his honour, his very 
Hfe itself!" 

Then, turning to Rose — 

" And you, miserable woman ! by what unworthy 
artifice did you gain his love? Was it by witch- 
craft ? or some poisonous philtre learned from your 
worthy father? " 

" Alas ! no, madame ; my weakness is my only 
crime, and also my only excuse. I loved him, long 
ago, when I was only a young girl, and these mem- 
ories have been my ruin." 

" Memories ? What ! did you also think you were 
loving the same man ? Are you also his dupe ? Or 
are you only pretending, in order to find a rag of 
excuse to cover your wickedness ? " 

It was now Rose who failed to understand ; Ber- 
trande continued, with growing excitement — 

" Yes, it was not enough to usurp the rights of a 
husband and father, he thought to play his part still 
better by deceiving the mistress also. . . . Ah! it 
is amusing, is it not ? You also. Rose, you thought 
he was your old lover! Well, I at least am excus- 
able, I the wife, who only thought she was faithful 
to her husband ! " 

" What does it all mean ? " asked the terrified 



"It means that this man is an impostor and that I 
will unmask him. Revenge! revenge! " 

Pierre came forward. " Bertrande," he said, " so 
long as I thought you were happy, when I feared to 
disturb your peace, I was silent, I repressed my just 
indignation, and I spared the usurper of the name 
and rights of my nephew. Do you now give me 
leave to speak ? " 

" Yes," she replied in a hollow voice. 

" You will not contradict me ? " 

By way of answer she sat down by the table and 
wrote a few hasty lines with a trembling hand, then 
gave them to Pierre, whose eyes sparkled with joy. 

" Yes," he said, " vengeance for him, but for her 
pity. Let this humiliation be her only punishment. 
I promised silence in return for confession, will 
you grant it ? " 

Bertrande assented with a contemptuous gesture. 

" Go, fear not," said the old man, and Rose went 
out. Pierre also left the house. 

Left to herself, Bertrande felt utterly worn out 
by so much emotion; indignation gave way to 
depression. She began to realise what she had done, 
and the scandal which would fall on her own head. 
Just then her baby awoke, and held out its arms, 
smiling, and calling for its father. Its father, was 
he not a criminal? Yes! but was it for her to ruin 
him, to invoke the law, to send him to death, after 



having taken him to her heart, to dehver him to 
infamy which would recoil on her own head and 
her child's and on the infant which was yet unborn? 
If he had sinned before God, was it not for God to 
punish him ? If against herseff, ought she not rather 
to overwhelm him with contempt? But to invoke 
the help of strangers to expiate this offence, to lay 
bare the troubles of her life, to unveil the sanctuary 
of the nuptial couch — in short, to summon the whole 
world to behold this fatal scandal, was not that 
what in her imprudent anger she had really done? 
She repented bitterly of her haste, she sought to 
avert the consequences, and notwithstanding the 
night and the bad weather, she hurried at once to 
Pierre's dwelling, hoping at all costs to withdraw 
her denunciation. He was not there : he had at once 
taken a horse and started for Rieux. Her accusa- 
tion was already on its way to the magistrates ! 

At break of day the house where Martin Guerre 
lodged when at Rieux was surrounded by soldiers. 
He came forward with confidence and inquired 
what was wanted. On hearing the accusation, he 
changed colour slightly, then collected himself, and 
made no resistance. When he came before the 
judge, Bertrande's petition was read to him, de- 
claring him to be " an impostor, who falsely, auda- 
ciously, and treacherously had deceived her by tak- 
ing the name and assuming the person of Martin 


Guerre," and demanding that he should be required 
to entreat pardon from God, the king, and herself. 

The prisoner listened calmly to the charge, and 
met it courageously, only evincing profound sur- 
prise at such a step being taken by a wife who had 
lived with him for two years since his return, and 
who only now thought of disputing the rights he 
had so long enjoyed. As he was ignorant both of 
Bertrande's suspicions and their confirmation, and 
also of the jealousy which had inspired her accusa- 
tion, his astonishment was perfectly natural, and 
did not at all appear to be assumed. He attributed 
the whole charge to the machinations of his uncle, 
Pierre Guerre ; an old man, he said, who, being gov- 
erned entirely by avarice and the desire of revenge, 
now disputed his name and rights, in order the bet- 
ter to deprive him of his property, which might be 
worth from sixteen to eighteen hundred livres. In 
order to attain his end, this wicked man had not 
hesitated to pervert his wife's mind, and at the risk 
of her own dishonour had instigated this calum- 
nious charge — a horrible and unheard-of thing in 
the mouth of a lawful wife. " Ah! I do not blame 
her," he cried; " she must suffer more than I do,-if 
she really entertains doubts such as these; but I 
deplore her readiness to listen to these extraor- 
dinary calumnies originated by my enemy." 

The judge was a good deal impressed by so much 


assurance. The accused was relegated to prison, 
whence he was brought two days later to encounter 
a formal examination. 

He began by explaining the cause of his long 
absence, originating, he said, in a domestic quarrel, 
as his wife well remembered. He then related his 
life during these eight years. At first he wandered 
over the country, wherever his curiosity and the 
love of travel led him. He then had crossed the 
frontier, revisited Biscay, where he was born, and 
having entered the service of the Cardinal of Bur- 
gos, he passed thence into the army of the King of 
Spain. He was wounded at the battle of St. Quen- 
tin, conveyed to a neighbouring village, where he 
recovered, although threatened with amputation. 
Anxious to again behold his wife and child, his 
other relations and the land of his adoption, he 
returned to Artigues, where he was immediately 
recognised by everyone, including the identical 
Pierre Guerre, his uncle, who now had the cruelty 
to disavow him. In fact, the latter had shown him 
special affection up to the day when Martin required 
an account of his stewardship. Had he only had 
the cowardice to sacrifice his money and thereby 
defraud his children, he would not to-day be 
charged as an impostor. " But," continued Mar- 
tin, " I resisted, and a violent quarrel ensued, in 
which anger perhaps carried me too far; Pierre 



Guerre, cunning and revengeful, has waited in 
silence. He has taken his time and his measures 
to organise this plot, hoping thereby to obtain his 
ends, to bring justice to the help of his avarice, and 
to acquire the spoils he coveted, and revenge for 
his defeat, by means of a sentence obtained from 
the scruples of the judges." Besides these explan- 
ations, which did not appear wanting in probability, 
Martin vehemently protested his innocence, demand- 
ing that his wife should be confronted with him, 
and declaring that in his presence she would not sus- 
tain the charge of personation brought against him, 
and that her mind not being animated by the blind 
hatred which dominated his persecutor, the truth 
would undoubtedly prevail. 

He now, in his turn, demanded that the judge 
should acknowledge his innocence, and prove it by 
condemning his calumniators to the punishment 
invoked against himself; that his wife, Bertrande 
de Rolls, should be secluded in some house where 
her mind could no longer be perverted, and, finally, 
that his innocence should be declared, and expenses 
and compensations awarded him. 

After this speech, delivered with warmth, and 
with every token of sincerity, he answered without 
difficulty all the interrogations of the judge. The 
following are some of the questions and answers, 
just as they have come down to us : — 



" In what part of Biscay were you born? " 

" In the village of Aymes, province of Guipus- 

"What were the names of your parents?" 

" Antonio Guerre and Marie Toreada," 

"Are they still living?" 

"My father died June 15th, 1530; my mother 
survived him three years and twelve days." 

"Have you any brothers and sisters?" 

" I had one brother, who only lived three months. 
My four sisters, Inez, Dorothea, Marietta, and 
Pedrina, all came to live at Artigues when I did; 
they are there still, and they all recognised me." 

" What is the date of your marriage? " 

"January 10, 1539." 

" Who were present at the ceremony ? " 

" My father-in-law, my mother-in-law, my uncle, 
my two sisters, Maitre Marcel and his daughter 
Rose; a neighbour called Claude Perrin, who got 
drunk at the wedding feast; also Giraud, the poet, 
who composed verses in our honour." 

" Who was the priest who married you ? " 

"The old cure, Pascal Guerin, whom I did not 
find alive when I returned." 

" What special circumstances occurred on the 
wedding-day? " 

" At midnight exactly, our neighbour, Catherine 
Boere, brought us the repast which is known as 


' medianoche.' This woman has recognised me, as 
also our old Marguerite, who has remained with us 
ever since the wedding." 

" What is the date of your son's birth ? " 
"February lo, 1548, nine years after our mar- 
riage. I was only twelve when the ceremony took 
place, and did not arrive at manhood till several 
years later." 

" Give the date of your leaving Artigues." 
" It was in August 1549. As I left the village, I 
met Claude Perrin and the cure Pascal, and took 
leave of them. I went towards Beauvais, and I 
passed through Orleans, Bourges, Limoges, Bor- 
deaux, and Toulouse. If you want the names of 
people whom I saw and to whom I spoke, you can 
have them. What more can I say? " 

Never, indeed, was there a more apparently vera- 
cious statement! All the doings of Martin Guerre 
seemed to be most faithfully described, and surely 
only himself could thus narrate his own actions. 
As the historian remarks, alluding to the story of 
Amphitryon, Mercury himself could not better 
reproduce all Sosia's actions, gestures, and words, 
than did the false Martin Guerre those of the real 

In accordance with the demand of the accused, 
Bertrande de Rolls was detained in seclusion, in 
order to remove her from the influence of Pierre 



Guerre. The latter, however, did not waste time, 
and during the month spent in examining the wit- 
nesses cited by Martin, his dihgent enemy, guided 
by some vague traces, departed on a journey, from 
which he did not return alone. 

All the witnesses bore out the statement of the 
accused; the latter heard this in prison, and rejoiced, 
hoping for a speedy release. Before long he was 
again brought before the judge, who told him that 
his deposition had been confirmed by all the wit- 
nesses examined. 

" Do you know of no others ? " continued the 
magistrate. " Have you no relatives except those 
you have mentioned ? " 

" I have no others," answered the prisoner. 

" Then what do you say to this man ? " said the 
judge, opening a door. 

An old man issued forth, who fell on the prison- 
er's neck, exclaiming, " My nephew ! " 

Martin trembled in every limb, but only for a 
moment. Promptly recovering himself, and gazing 
calmly at the newcomer, he asked coolly — 

" And who may you be ? " 

" What! " said the old man, " do you not know 
me? Dare you deny me? — me, your mother's 
brother. Carbon Barreau, the old soldier ! Me, who 
dandled you on my knee in your infancy; me, who 
taught you later to carry a musket; me, who met 



you during the war at an inn in Picardy, when you 
fled secretly. Since then I have sought you every- 
where; I have spoken of you, and described your 
face and person, until a worthy inhabitant of this 
country offered to bring me hither, where indeed I 
did not expect to find my sister's son imprisoned 
and fettered as a malefactor. What is his crime, 
may it please your honour ? " 

" You shall hear," replied the magistrate. " Then 
you identify the prisoner as your nephew? You 
affirm his name to be ? " 

" Arnauld du Thill, also called ' Pansette,' after 
his father, Jacques Pansa. His mother was 
Therese Barreau, my sister, and he was born in the 
village of Sagias," 

" What have you to say ? " demanded the judge, 
turning to the accused. 

" Three things," replied the latter, unabashed : 
" this man is either mad, or he has been suborned to 
tell lies, or he is simply mistaken." 

The old man was struck dumb with astonishment. 
But his supposed nephew's start of terror had not 
been lost upon the judge, also much impressed by 
the straightforward frankness of Carbon Barreau. 
He caused fresh investigations to be made, and other 
inhabitants of Sagias were summoned to Rieux, 
who one and all agreed in identifying the accused 
as the same Arnauld du Thill who had been born 



and had grown up under their very eyes. Several 
deposed that as he grew up he had taken to evil 
courses, and become an adept in theft and lying, 
not fearing even to take the sacred name of God in 
vain, in order to cover the untruth of his daring 
assertions. From such testimony the judge natur- 
ally concluded that Arnauld du Thill was quite 
capable of carrying on an imposture, and that the 
impudence which he displayed was natural to his 
character. Moreover, he noted that the prisoner, 
who averred that he was born in Biscay, knew only 
a few words of the Basque language, and used these 
quite wrongly. He heard later another witness 
who deposed that the original Martin Guerre was 
a good wrestler and skilled in the art of fence, 
whereas the prisoner, having wished to try what 
he could do, showed no skill whatever. Finally, a 
shoemaker was interrogated, and his evidence was 
not the least damning. Martin Guerre, he declared, 
required twelve holes to lace his boots, and his sur- 
prise had been great when he found those of the 
prisoner had only nine. Considering all these 
points, and the cumulative evidence, the judge of 
Rieux set aside the favourable testimony, which he 
concluded had been the outcome of general credul- 
ity, imposed on by an extraordinary resemblance. 
He gave due weight also to Bertrande's accusation, 
although she had never confirmed it, and now main- 



tained an obstinate silence; and he pronounced a 
judgment by which Arnauld du Thill was declared 
" attainted and convicted of imposture, and was 
therefore condemned to be beheaded; after which 
his body should be divided into four quarters, and 
exposed at the four corners of the town." 

This sentence, as soon as it was known, caused 
much diversity of opinion in the town. The pris- 
oner's enemies praised the wisdom of the judge, 
and those less prejudiced condemned his decision; 
as such conflicting testimony left room for doubt. 
Besides, it was thought that the possession of prop- 
erty and the future of the children required much 
consideration, also that the most absolute certainty 
was demanded before annulling a past of two whole 
years, untroubled by any counter claim whatever. 

The condemned man appealed from this sentence 
to the Parliament of Toulouse. This court decided 
that the case required more careful consideration 
than had yet been given to it, and began by order- 
ing Arnauld du Thill to be confronted with Pierre 
Guerre and Bertrande de Rolls. 

Who can say what feelings animate a man who, 
already once condemned, finds himself subjected, to 
a second trial? The torture scarcely ended begins 
again, and Hope, though reduced to a shadow, re- 
gains her sway over his imagination, which clings 
to her skirts, as it were, with desperation. The 



exhausting efforts must be recommenced; it is the 
last struggle — a struggle which is more desperate in 
proportion as there is less strength to maintain it. 
In this case the defendant was not one of those who 
are easily cast down ; he collected all his energy, all 
his courage, hoping to come victoriously out of the 
new combat which lay before him. 

The magistrates assembled in the great hall of the 
Parliament, and the prisoner appeared before them. 
He had first to deal with Pierre, and confronted him 
calmly, letting him speak, without showing any 
emotion. He then replied with indignant re- 
proaches, dwelling on Pierre's greed and avarice, 
his vows of vengeance, the means employed to work 
upon Bertrande, his secret manoeuvres in order to 
gain his ends, and the unheard-of animosity dis- 
played in hunting up accusers, witnesses, and calum- 
niators. He defied Pierre to prove that he was not 
Martin Guerre, his nephew, inasmuch as Pierre had 
publicly acknowledged and embraced him, and his 
tardy suspicions only dated from the time of their 
violent quarrel. His language was so strong and 
vehement, that Pierre became confused and was 
unable to answer, and the encounter turned entirely 
in Arnauld's favour, who seemed to overawe his 
adversary from a height of injured innocence, while 
the latter appeared as a disconcerted slanderer. 

The scene of his confrontation with Bertrande 


took a wholly different character. The poor woman, 
pale, cast down, worn by sorrow, came staggering 
before the tribunal, in an almost fainting condition. 
She endeavoured to collect herself, but as soon as 
she saw the prisoner she hung her head and cov- 
ered her face with her hands. He approached her 
and besought her in the gentlest accents not to per- 
sist in an accusation which might send him to the 
scaffold, not thus to avenge any sins he might have 
committed against her, although he could not re- 
proach himself with any really serious fault. 

Bertrande started, and murmured in a whisper, 
"And Rose?" 

" Ah ! " Arnauld exclaimed, astonished at this 

His part was instantly taken. Turning to the 
judges — 

"Gentlemen," he said, " my wife is a jealous 
woman! Ten years ago, when I left her, she had 
formed these suspicions ; they were the cause of my 
voluntary exile. To-day she again accuses me of 
guilty relations with the same person ; I neither 
deny nor acknowledge them, but I affirm that it is 
the blind passion of jealousy which, aided by my 
uncle's suggestions, guided my wife's hand when 
she signed this denunciation." 

Bertrande remained silent. 

" Do you dare," he continued, turning towards 



her, — " do you dare to swear before God that jeal- 
ousy did not inspire you with the wish to ruin me? " 

" And you," she repHed, " dare you swear that I 
was deceived in my suspicions ? " 

" You see, gentlemen," exclaimed the prisoner 
triumphantly, "her jealousy breaks forth before 
your eyes. Whether I am, or am not, guilty of the 
sin she attributes to me, is not the question for you 
to decide. Can you conscientiously admit the testi- 
mony of a woman who, after publicly acknowledg- 
ing me, after receiving me in her house, after living 
two years in perfect amity with me, has, in a fit of 
angry vengeance, thought she could give the lie to 
all her words and actions? Ah! Bertrande," he 
continued, " if it only concerned my life I think I 
could forgive a madness of which your love is both 
the cause and the excuse, but you are a mother, think 
of that ! My punishment will recoil on the head of 
my daughter, who is unhappy enough to have been 
born since our reunion, and also on our unborn 
child, which you condemn beforehand to curse the 
union which gave it being. Think of this, Ber- 
trande, you will have to answer before God for what 
you are now doing! " 

The unhappy woman fell on her knees, weeping. 

" I adjure you," he continued solemnly, " you, 
my wife, Bertrande de Rolls, to swear now, here, on 
the crucifix, that I am an impostor and a cheat." 



A crucifix was placed before Bertrande; she made 
a sign as if to push it away, endeavoured to speak, 
and feebly exclaimed, " No," then fell to the 
ground, and was carried out insensible. 

This scene considerably shook the opinion of the 
magistrates. They could not believe that an impos- 
tor, whatever he might be, would have sufficient 
daring and presence of mind thus to turn into mock- 
ery all that was most sacred. They set a new in- 
quiry on foot, which, instead of producing enlight- 
enment, only plunged them into still greater obscur- 
ity. Out of thirty witnesses heard, more than three- 
quarters agreed in identifying as Martin Guerre 
the man who claimed his name. Never was greater 
perplexity caused by more extraordinary appear- 
ances. The remarkable resemblance upset all 
reasoning: some recognised him as Arnauld du 
Thill, and others asserted the exact contrary. He 
could hardly understand Basque, some said, though 
born in Biscay, was that astonishing, seeing he was 
only three when he left the country? He could 
neither wrestle nor fence well, but having no occa- 
sion to practise these exercises he might well have 
forgotten them. The shoemaker who made -his 
shoes aforetime, thought he took another measure, 
but he might have made a mistake before or be mis- 
taken now. The prisoner further defended himself 
by recapitulating the circumstances of his first meet- 



ing with Bertrande, on his return, the thousand and 
one little details he had mentioned which he only 
could have known, also the letters in his possession, 
all of which could only be explained by the assump- 
tion that he was the veritable Martin Guerre. Was it 
likely that he would be wounded over the left eye and 
leg as the missing man was supposed to be ? Was it 
likely that the old servant, that the four sisters, his 
uncle Pierre, many persons to whom he had related 
facts known only to himself, that all the community 
in short, would have recognised him? And even 
the very intrigue suspected by Bertrande, which had 
aroused her jealous anger, this very intrigue, if it 
really existed, was it not another proof of the verity 
of his claim, since the person concerned, as inter- 
ested and as penetrating as the legitimate wife, had 
also accepted him as her former lover? Surely 
here was a mass of evidence sufficient to cast light 
on the case. Imagine an impostor arriving for the 
first time in a place where all the inhabitants are 
unknown to him, and attempting to personate a 
man who had dwelt there, who would have con- 
nections of all kinds, who would have played his 
part in a thousand different scenes, who would have 
confided his secrets, his opinions, to relations, 
friends, acquaintances, to all sorts of people; who 
had also a wife — that is to say, a person under 
whose eyes nearly his whole life would be passed, a 



person would study him perpetually, with whom he 
would be continually conversing on every sort of 
subject. Could such an impostor sustain his imper- 
sonation for a single day, without his memory play- 
ing him false? From the physical and moral im- 
possibility of playing such a part, was it not reason- 

. able to conclude that the accused, who had main- 
tained it for more than two years, was the true 
Martin Guerre? 

There seemed, in fact, to be nothing which could 
account for such an attempt being successfully made 
unless recourse was had to an accusation of sor- 
cery. The idea of handing him over to the ecclesi- 
astical authorities was briefly discussed, but proofs 
were necessary, and the judges hesitated. It is a 
principle of justice, which has become a precept in 
law, that in cases of uncertainty the accused has the 
benefit of the doubt; but at the period of which we 
are writing, these truths were far from being ac- 

« knowledged; guilt was presumed rather than inno- 
cence; and torture, instituted to force confession 
from those who could not otherwise be convicted, 
is only explicable by supposing the judges convinced 
of the actual guilt of the accused; for no one would 
have thought of subjecting a possibly innocent per- 
son to this suffering. However, notwithstanding 
this prejudice, which has been handed down to us 
by some organs of the public ministry always dis- 


She cried aloud, and fell hack insensible; — she recognised 
her real husband ! 

—p. 2107 
From the original illustration by Bourdet 


posed to assume the guilt of a suspected person, — 
notwithstanding this prejudice, the judges in this 
case neither ventured to condemn Martin Guerre 
themselves as an impostor, nor to demand the inter- 
vention of the Church. In this conflict of contrary 
testimony, which seemed to reveal the truth only to 
immediately obscure it again, in this chaos of argu- 
ments and conjectures which showed flashes of light 
only to extinguish them in greater darkness, con- 
sideration for the family prevailed. The sincerity 
of Bertrande, the future of the children, seemed 
reasons for proceeding with extreme caution, and 
this once admitted, could only yield to conclusive 
evidence. Consequently the Parliament adjourned 
the case, matters remaining in statu quo, pending 
a more exhaustive inquiry. Meanwhile, the ac- 
cused, for whom several relations and friends gave 
surety, was allowed to be at liberty at Artigues, 
though remaining under careful surveillance. 

Bertrande therefore again saw him an inmate of 
the house, as if no doubts had ever been cast on the 
legitimacy of their union. What thoughts passed 
through her mind during the long tctc-a-tetc? She 
had accused this man of imposture, and now, not- 
withstanding her secret conviction, she was obliged 
to appear as if she had no suspicion, as if she had 
been mistaken, to humiliate herself before the im- 
postor, and ask forgiveness for the insanity of her 

^ iJuinaH— \ol. li — K 


conduct ; for, having publicly renounced her accusa- 
tion by refusing to swear to it, she had no alterna- 
tive left. In order to sustain her part and to save 
the honour of her children, she must treat this man 
as her husband and appear submissive and repent- 
ant; she must show him entire confidence, as the 
only means of rehabilitating him and lulling the 
vigilance of justice. What the widow of Martin 
Guerre must have suffered in this life of effort was 
a secret between God and herself, but she looked at 
her little daughter, she thought of her fast approach- 
ing confinement, and took courage. 

One evening, towards nightfall, she was sitting 
near him in the most private corner of the garden, 
with her little child on her knee, whilst the adven- 
turer, sunk in gloomy thoughts, absently stroked 
Sanxi's fair head. Both were silent, for at the bot- 
tom of their hearts each knew the other's thoughts, 
and, no longer able to talk familiarly, nor daring 
to appear estranged, they spent, when alone to- 
gether, long hours of silent dreariness. 

All at once a loud uproar broke the silence of 
their retreat; they heard the exclamations of many 
persons, cries of surprise mixed with angry tones, 
hasty footsteps, then the garden gate was flung vio- 
lently open, and old Marguerite appeared, pale, 
gasping, almost breathless. Bertrande hastened 
towards her in astonishment, followed by her hus- 



band, but when near enough to speak she could only 
answer with inarticulate sounds, pointing with ter- 
ror to the courtyard of the house. They looked in 
this direction, and saw a man standing at the thresh- 
old ; they approached him. He stepped forward, as 
if to place himself between them. He was tall, 
dark ; his clothes were torn ; he had a wooden leg ; 
his countenance was stern. He surveyed Ber- 
trande with a gloomy look : she cried aloud, and fell 
back insensible; . . . she recognised her real hus- 

Arnauld du Thill stood petrified. While Mar- 
guerite, distracted herself, endeavoured to revive 
her mistress, the neighbours, attracted by the noise, 
invaded the house, and stopped, gazing with stupe- 
faction at this astonishing resemblance. The two 
men had the same features, the same height, the 
same bearing, and suggested one being in two per- 
sons. They gazed at each other in terror, and in 
that superstitious age the idea of sorcery and of 
infernal intervention naturally occurred to those 
present. All crossed themselves, expecting every 
moment to see fire from heaven strike one or other 
of the two men, or that the earth would engulf 
one of them. Nothing happened, however, except 
that both were promptly arrested, in order that the 
strange mystery might be cleared up. 

The wearer of the wooden leg, interrogated by 


the judges, related that he came from Spain, where 
first the healing of his wound, and then the want 
of money, had detained him hitherto. He had 
travelled on foot, almost a beggar. He gave ex- 
actly the same reasons for leaving Artigues as had 
been given by the other Martin Guerre, namely, a 
domestic quarrel caused by jealous suspicion, the 
desire of seeing other countries, and an adventurous 
disposition. He had gone back to his birthplace, 
in Biscay; thence he entered the service of the Car- 
dinal of Burgos; then the cardinal's brother had 
taken him to the war, and he had served with the 
Spanish troops; at the battle of St. Quentin his leg 
had been shattered by an arquebus ball. So far his 
recital was the counterpart of the one already heard 
by the judges from the other man. Now they be- 
gan to differ. Martin Guerre stated that he had 
been conveyed to a house by a man whose features 
he did not distinguish, that he thought he was 
dying, and that several hours elapsed of which he 
could give no account, being probably delirious; 
that he suffered later intolerable pain, and on com- 
ing to himself, found that his leg had been ampu- 
tated. He remained long between life and death, 
but he was cared for by peasants who probably 
saved his life; his recovery was very slow. He dis- 
covered that in the interval between being struck 
down in the battle and recovering his senses, his 



papers had disappeared, but it was impossible to 
suspect the people who had nursed him with such 
generous kindness of theft. After his recovery, 
being absolutely destitute, he sought to return to 
France and again see his wife and child : he had 
endured all sorts of privations and fatigues, and 
at length, exhausted, but rejoicing at being near the 
end of his troubles, he arrived, suspecting nothing, 
at his own door. Then the terror of the old servant, 
a few broken words, made him guess at some 
misfortune, and the appearance of his wife and 
of a man so exactly like himself stupefied him. 
Matters had now been explained, and he only re- 
gretted that his wound had not at once ended his 

The whole story bore the impress of truth, but 
when the other prisoner was asked what he had to 
say he adhered to his first answers, maintaining 
their correctness, and again asserted that he was the 
real IMartin Guerre, and that the new claimant could 
only be Arnauld du Thill, the clever impostor, who 
was said to resemble himself so much that the inhab- 
itants of Sagias had agreed in mistaking him for 
the said Arnauld. 

The two Martin Guerres were then confronted 
without changing the situation in the least; the 
first showing the same assurance, the same bold 
and confident bearing; while the second, calling 



on God and men to bear witness to his sincerity, 
deplored his misfortune in the most pathetic 

The judge's perplexity was great : the affair be- 
came more and more complicated, the question re- 
mained as difficult, as uncertain as ever. All the 
appearances and evidences were at variance; proba- 
bility seemed to incline towards one, sympathy was 
more in favour of the other, but actual proof was 
still wanting. 

At length a member of the Parliament, M. de 
Coras, proposed as a last chance before resorting 
to torture, that final means of examination in a bar- 
barous age, that Bertrande should be placed between 
the two rivals, trusting, he said, that in such a case 
a woman's instinct would divine the truth. Conse- 
quently the two Martin Guerres were brought before 
the Parliament, and a few moments after Bertrande 
was led in, weak, pale, hardly able to stand, being 
worn out by suffering and advanced pregnancy. 
Her appearance excited compassion, and all watched 
anxiously to see what she would do. She looked at 
the two men, who had been placed at different ends 
of the hall, and turning from him who was nearest 
to her, went and knelt silently before the man with 
the wooden leg; then, joining her hands as if pray- 
ing for mercy, she wept bitterly. So simple and 
touching an action roused the sympathy of all pres- 



ent; Arnauld du Thill grew pale, and everyone 
expected that Martin Guerre, rejoiced at being vin- 
dicated by this public acknowledgment, would raise 
his wife and embrace her. But he remained cold 
and stern, and in a contemptuous tone — 

" Dry your tears, madame," he said ; " they do 
not move me in the least, neither can you seek to 
excuse your credulity by the examples of my sisters 
and my uncle. A wife knows her husband more 
intimately than his other relations, as you prove by 
your present action, and if she is deceived it is be- 
cause she consents to the deception. You are the 
sole cause of the misfortunes of my house, and to 
you only shall I ever impute them." 

Thunderstruck by this reproach, the poor woman 
had no strength to reply, and was taken home more 
dead than alive. 

The dignified language of this injured husband 
made another point in his favour. ]\Iuch pity was 
felt for Bertrande, as being the victim of an auda- 
cious deception ; but everybody agreed that thus it 
beseemed the real Martin Guerre to have spoken. 
After the ordeal gone through by the wife had been 
also essayed by the sisters and other relatives, who 
one and all followed Bertrande's example and ac- 
cepted the new-comer, the court, having fully de- 
liberated, passed the following sentence, which we 
transcribe literally : — 



" Having reviewed the trial of Arnauld du Thill 
or Pansette, calling himself Martin Guerre, a pris- 
oner in the Conciergerie, who appeals from the de- 
cision of the judge of Rieux, etc., 

" We declare that this court negatives the appeal 
and defence of the said Arnauld du Thill; and as 
punishment and amends for the imposture, decep- 
tion, assumption of name and of person, adultery, 
rape, sacrilege, theft, larceny, and other deeds com- 
mitted by the aforesaid du Thill, and causing the 
above-mentioned trial; this court has condemned 
and condemns him to do penance before the church 
of Artigue, kneeling, clad in his shirt only, bare- 
headed and barefoot, a halter on his neck, and a 
burning torch in his hand, and there he shall ask 
pardon from God, from the King, and from jus- 
tice, from the said Martin Guerre and Bertrande de 
Rolls, husband and wife: and this done, the afore- 
said du Thill shall be delivered into the hands of 
the executioners of the King's Justice, who shall 
lead him through the customary streets and cross- 
roads of the aforesaid place of Artigues, and, the 
halter on his neck, shall bring him before the house 
of the aforesaid Martin Guerre, where he 
hung and strangled upon a gibbet erected for this 
purpose, after which his body shall be burnt : and for 
various reasons and considerations thereunto moving 
the court, it has awarded and awards the goods of 



the aforesaid Arnauld du Thill, apart from the ex- 
penses of justice, to the daughter born unto him by 
the aforesaid Bertrande de Rolls, under pretence of 
marriage falsely asserted by him, having thereto 
assumed the name and person of the aforesaid Mar- 
tin Guerre, by this means deceiving the aforesaid de 
Rolls; and moreover the court has exempted and 
exempts from this trial the aforesaid Martin 
Guerre and Bertrande de Rolls, also the said Pierre 
Guerre, uncle of the aforesaid Martin, and has 
remitted and remits the aforesaid Arnauld du Thill 
to the aforesaid judge of Rieux, in order that the 
present sentence may be executed according to its 
form and tenor. Pronounced judicially this 12th 
day of September 1560." 

This sentence substituted the gallows for the 
decapitation decreed by the first judge, inasmuch as 
the latter punishment was reserved for criminals of 
noble birth, while hanging was inflicted on meaner 

When once his fate was decided, Arnauld du 
Thill lost all his audacity. Sent back to Artigues, 
he was interrogated in prison by the judge of Rieux, 
and confessed his imposture at great length. He 
said the idea first occurred to him when, having 
returned from the camp in Picardy, he was ad- 
dressed as Martin Guerre by several intimate friends 
of the latter. He then inquired as to the sort of 


life, the habits and relations of this man, and hav- 
ing contrived to be near him, had watched him 
closely during the battle. He saw him fall, carried 
him away, and then, as the reader has already seen, 
excited his delirium to the utmost in order to obtain 
possession of his secrets. Having thus explained 
his successful imposture by natural causes, which 
excluded any idea of magic or sorcery, he pro- 
tested his penitence, implored the mercy of God, 
and prepared himself for execution as became a 

The next day, while the populace, collecting from 
the whole neighbourhood, had assembled before the 
parish church of Artigues in order to behold the 
penance of the criminal, who, barefoot, attired in 
a shirt, and holding a lighted torch in his hand, 
knelt at the entrance of the church, another scene, 
no less painful, took place in the house of Martin 
Guerre. Exhausted by her suffering, which had 
caused a premature confinement, Bertrande lay on 
her couch of pain, and besought pardon from him 
whom she had innocently wronged, entreating him 
also to pray for her soul. Martin Guerre, sitting at 
her bedside, extended his hand and blessed her. 
She took his hand and held it to her lips ; she could 
no longer speak. All at once a loud noise was heard 
outside: the guilty man had just been executed in 
front of the house. When finally attached to the 


gallows, he uttered a terrible cry, which was an- 
swered by another from inside the house. The 
same evening, while the body of the malefactor 
was being consumed by fire, the remains of a 
mother and child were laid to rest in consecrated 



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